Oracle headquarters, in Redwood Shores, consists of 17 buildings covering 3.2 million square feet and is situated around the edge of a 13-acre saltwater lagoon.
Over the past seven years, we’ve been irrigating our HQ landscape with reclaimed water, saving approximately 26 million gallons of potable water per year. However, the reclaimed water has a very high salt content, which is harmful to most non-native plants. To address this, we began relandscaping in 2014, transitioning from non-native to native plants that require minimal irrigation and maintenance.
We are also emphasizing the use of plant species that support native pollinators—hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. When native vegetation is replaced by buildings, roadways, manicured lawns, crops, and non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites necessary for their survival. We are developing hardier landscapes that require less water and maintenance, while re-establishing habitat for native birds and insects, and reducing operating costs in the process.
reduction in irrigation water use at Oracle headquarters from 2009 to 2016
To date, we’ve transitioned about 20 percent of the landscape at headquarters to native varieties. We’ve also added smart controllers that automatically adjust irrigation based on the actual needs of the plants under local weather conditions in real time, and we have adopted drip irrigation at several locations. As a result, we’ve reduced irrigation water use by almost 29 percent since 2009, saving more than US$80,000 in water costs annually. Ultimately, we expect to reduce irrigation use by 75 to 90 percent, with a corresponding reduction in water costs, while helping to create a healthier environment.