What Does 'Making the Switch' Really Mean? A Training Workshop Explains Practicalities of Moving Past the Gas-Powered Blower Era

As more and more communities across the nation begin the shift from hyper-polluting gas-powered lawn machinery to clean, much quieter battery-powered alternatives, the practicalities of the transition become all the more important.

What’s the most practical type of battery-powered equipment? What are the costs and savings to expect? Are there significant training issues? What are the most important efficiency steps> What else will come as a surprise, good or bad?

Over the past three years, Quiet Communities a nonprofit based in Boston that has been a pioneer in sustainability and noise-reduction efforts around the country, and the California-based American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) a leader in zero-emission grounds-maintenance strategies, have worked with the town of Southampton, New York, to convert its municipal operations to battery systems. In late March the two groups help a workshop in Southampton to help privat business prepare for the transition.

Desiree Keegan, of The Independent, wrote about the program and quoted Dan Mabe, head of the AGZA:

The switchover impacts not only quality of life, but worker health and the environment, according to Mabe. He said on average the noise profile is 50 percent less with electric than using gas-powered equipment across the board. The CEO said when converting from a two-stroke (oil-and-gas-fueled) hedge trimmer to a commercial electric trimmer, the noise profile lessens by 70 percent….

“Community health is affected as well, because if you can smell it, you’re exposed to it,” Mabe said. “On a more macro-level, there’s an environmental impact to the planet. When you have to use the chemicals and cleaners to maintain a small internal combustion engine from cradle to grave, there’s a solid-waste component to that, where there’s going to be belts, spark plugs, filters, plastic, and metal cans that really aren’t recyclable that end up in our land-waste system.”

From the AGZA web site’s coverage of the workshop, here is a photo of one of the many displays. 

Commercial battery-powered equipment on display at the workshop. ( AGZA photo .)

Commercial battery-powered equipment on display at the workshop. (AGZA photo.)

Developing evidence of the environmental and public-health damage done by current machinery was one indispensable step in the transition process. Convincing community leaders and local legislators that it was best for the community to make the switch, was the next step. Now comes the switch itself: showing landscape professionals and their crews, plus the customers that hire them, how to make this change work to their interest as well. Thanks to QC and AGZA for setting a strong example.