By Barrett Seaman
Even as private landscaping companies push back against recently enacted restrictions on the use of gas-powered blowers and other carbon-spewing lawn and garden equipment, the Irvington Union Free School District (IUFSD) is buying battery-operated equipment. “These machines are used to mow and trim the lawns on the parking lot islands,” said Director of Facilities Gary Knowles. “Using them helps us cut emissions that are normally delivered from our gas-operated machines.”
Newer model electric equipment offers longer operating spans than in the past—one to two hours before needed a new charge. “I’ve noticed that over time the technology on the newer machines has improved, which allows us to get longer run times,” said Knowles.
So far, the district has bought just one lawn mower, two weed whackers and two leaf blowers powered by electricity, but Knowles said he plans to buy more and larger battery-powered devices as efficiencies improve.
“We have run into challenges with run times on the battery-operated equipment,” he admits. “In order to address the issues we’ve purchased extra backup batteries for each machine.”
In addition to being cleaner, the electric-powered equipment is considerably quieter—which might help students inside classrooms concentrate better while the grass is being cut outside.