Electric Landscaping

Electric Landscaping Project

Overview

Communities all over the United States are targeting gas powered landscaping equipment in response to the significant noise and the air pollution they produce.

One of LOSN’s projects is working with others in our community and the region to switch from gas powered landscaping equipment to electric landscaping equipment.

Contact

Kathleen Wiens  kwiens@losn.org

Want to get involved?

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Benefits of Switching to Electric Landscaping Equipment

Small internal combustion engines, such as those found in lawnmowers and leaf blowers, emit more carbon emissions than larger, more fuel-efficient engines.

Emission Equivalencies for Gas powered equipment

In addition, this equipment is responsible for significant noise pollution which can lead to hearing loss and high stress levels. Operators of this equipment can be particularly affected by the noise and air pollution.

Community members are taking their concerns to their cities and neighborhoods looking for solutions. In our tri-county area, a volunteer organization in Portland has formed QuietCleanPDX to educate and offer solutions about phasing out gas powered leaf blowers. Thus, beyond the benefits of directly addressing climate change by reducing carbon emissions, switching out gas powered landscaping equipment has major benefits for the well-being of our community.

Lawn mower, leaf blower, chain saw
Project Focus and Partners
City of Lake Oswego transitioning to electric landscaping equipment

Status: In 2021, Lake Oswego City Council Approves All Electric Landscaping Contracts

On February 2, 2021, the City Council approved two 100% electric landscaping contracts that cover over 200 public areas in the City. This is a great first step towards reducing the hazardous air and noise pollution that is caused by gas-powered landscaping equipment. By actively transitioning away from gas-powered equipment and using electric equipment (and rakes) this will help create a greener and healthier place for the landscaping workers, community and the environment.

You can read more about this decision in the Lake Oswego Review: Lake Oswego City Council approves switch to electric landscape equipment.

The Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) led the way to addressing the switch to electric landscaping equipment by submitting an options paper in August 2019 to Council for addressing local air and noise pollution from gas-powered landscape equipment. You can read the options paper by clicking here.

The city continued to make strides in moving to a electric landscaping use during 2021 with the following:

  • Increased electric equipment inventory including: electric large area mower, blowers, weed eaters and chainsaws.
  • Used electric vehicles for work inside the parks.
  • Evaluated electric trucks for the city fleet.

One of the Sustainability Advisory Board goals for the city for 2022 is:

Accelerate the Transition Away from Gas-Powered Landscape Equipment

SAB will continue to encourage a transition away from gas-powered landscape equipment (GPLE) to improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, and minimize health impacts from use of gas-powered engines. The City has already taken the important step of eliminating gas- powered equipment from its contracted landscape services for 200 city-owned sites and has replaced some of the gas-powered equipment used by Parks and Recreation and Public Works. SAB would like to partner with the City and affected stakeholders to facilitate a similar, voluntary transition for community groups, landscapers, and residents throughout the City.
By taking action now to support a voluntary transition away from GPLE, the City can improve health impacts of affected stakeholders, while enabling these stakeholders to be well- positioned for compliance with future regional and/or State legislation that would eliminate GPLE equipment. SAB will review the actions neighboring cities are taking and will engage with residents and landscapers to inform our recommendations.
SAB will implement this goal by creating a 1-3 year plan for the City to support the Lake Oswego community in transitioning away from GPLE, built on voluntary measures and educational outreach, informed by a community survey and engagement efforts, including options such as equipment demonstrations, voluntary trade-ins, bulk purchase discounts, incentives or rebates.

Advocate and promote the use of electric landscaping equipment by residents, landscapers, and other organizations

We are partnering with QuietCleanPDX, American Green Zone Alliance, and Quiet Communities Inc to make it easy for residents and other organizations to switch to electric landscaping equipment and hand tools.

Resources

  • Quiet Clean PDXA Portland based volunteer effort working to phase out gas-powered leaf blowers. Created a list of local landscapers that used electric equipment and hand tools.
  • American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) – A leader in low impact, low noise landscape solutions. Committed to improving quality of life for communities, working conditions for operators and best practices for the landscape maintenance industry. 
  • Quiet Communties, Inc.An organization that is dedicated to helping communities reduce health and environmental harm from noise and pollution.
  • PGE Electric Tool Exchange – a PGE initiative that helps people exchange gas-powered lawn tools for non-polluting, quiet electric lawn tools.
Electric Landscaping Resources

Next Steps

  • Advertise events to swap out gas powered equipment for electric equipment for residents and landscaping businesses (PGE Tool Exchange)
  • Ongoing education through our newsletters and forums

 

Testimonials

Why We Made the Switch

Why We Made the Switch

Testimonial from Jeff & Kathleen Wiens

For years it was frustrating trying to start our gas lawnmower and edger. Having to mix oil and gasoline, trying to find a funnel to fill it was always a hassle. The cloud of smoke and fumes made the process even more unpleasant. It was frustrating having to wipe the spilled gasoline off of our hands and ground.

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