Malls Get Smart With Water Management

Driving a Prius to the mall isn’t the only way to cut the environmental impact of shopping — malls are now getting their own cleantech makeovers. Petaluma, Calif.-based HydroPoint Data Systems announced today that its WeatherTRAK smart water management system has been installed at 30 shopping malls in the western U.S. as part of a pilot water conservation project with mall owner Regency Centers (s REG). Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

WeatherTRAK is a “smart” irrigation system that uses data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to automatically schedule irrigation based on local weather conditions and landscaping needs. HydroPoint says it can reduce water use by up to 59 percent and water runoff by 71 percent. Earlier this year, HydroPoint released a new version of its web-based interface, where users can monitor their irrigation systems and get real-time information on field conditions, reducing the number of site visits that are required, which is another cost-cutter.

The technology is being used to cut outdoor water consumption at malls in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Regency Centers in Jacksonville, Fla., expects to save 42 million gallons of water annually with the new systems. There could be significant cost savings for the mall owner, with Regency Centers saying the system will help to lower its water bills, as well as minimize landscape replacement and over-watering maintenance costs.

HydroPoint, backed by Citi Alternative Investments, RockPort Capital Partners, Monitor Ventures, and others, already has an impressive list of big-name customers for a venture-backed firm, including Advanced Micro Devices (s AMD), (s AMZN), and Lockheed Martin (s LMT).

The deal with Regency Centers could be the start of much bigger project for HydroPoint. Regency Centers is targeting a total of 36 malls for this pilot project, but the company recently said that, based on the results of the project, this type of technology will be incrementally rolled out into the rest of its portfolio. Regency Centers owns 443 retail properties in the U.S., covering 59.3 million square feet.