Green Alternatives to Landscaping and Turf Management

Today, facility and maintenance managers have options for powerful, electric, lithium-powered mowers that offer zero emission, zero gas or fluids, and low noise.

The mowers and electric hand-held equipment include a wide variety of options from Push, Walk Behind, Stand On and Zero Turn models. There are commercial cordless electric versions of trimmers, chain saws, pruners, and edging attachments, as well as battery backpack blowers.

Universities can maintain their pristine campus landscaping with low noise and a cleaner alternative, even gaining LEED points in many cases.

Electric Alternative to Fossil Fuels

The electric advantage over fossil fuels for outdoor power equipment is substantial. The first advantage is less noise. Electric mowers can offer extreme power, with horsepower that exceeds many commercial gas mowers in their classes, combined with stealthy operation. Most gas mowers are 95-100 db, whereas electric ones are less than 80 db. For every 6db difference in sound, the noise doubles, so the reduction is striking.

Secondly, electric mowers and outdoor maintenance tools offer zero emissions, which benefits the environment and saves money. Outdoor (off-road) power equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, grass trimmers, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, and so on, are all part of a sparsely regulated group of fossil-fuel-powered products. These products have a significant impact on our environment. Since they are not “on-road” vehicles, the EPA has put little effort into regulating emissions on these products.
Due to this limited regulation, outdoor power vehicles have become the worst polluters and the least efficient products on the market today.

Emissions are more than 30 times worse than on-road gas vehicles and efficiency is way down near 20%. Gas-powered outdoor power equipment is so polluting that the EPA has concluded that just one 2-cycle string trimmer can produce as many emissions in one hour as one full size pick-up truck traveling over 3,000 miles.

Thirdly, electric mowers use zero gas. Electric replacements for gas engine products can run at close to 90% efficiency and only cost about 5% of what you would pay to operate and maintain their gas engine rival. This means you can save anywhere from $5.50 – $8.00 per hour while mowing with an efficient zero-turn, battery-powered mower.

Finally, low maintenance is another benefit. Routine maintenance is one of the most important, time consuming, and most expensive tasks that every gas mower owner is plagued with time and time again throughout the service life of the mower. With electric alternatives, there is little routine maintenance.

There is no internal combustion engine, so no spark plugs to clean or change, no carb/injectors to rebuild, no engine oil or filters to change, no hydraulics, no belts, no pulleys, no clutches, and no air filters. In fact, there are no oils or liquids to leak or spill. Because of these many benefits, as well as the sustainability factors, facility managers at private colleges and universities are turning more often to green alternatives.

About the Author
Joseph Conrad is President of Mean Green Mowers. Conrad can be reached by calling 513-738-4736 or visiting