City of Richmond, battery-powered landscaping tools

City workers make less noise as battery-powered devices are currently being tested

If you’ve noticed that the City of Richmond landscapers make a lot less noise, you’re right.

The city is currently testing a fleet of battery-powered devices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to half of 2007 levels by 2030.

One of the ways to achieve this goal is to reduce emissions from city vehicles and other machinery.

According to a spokesman for the city park office, the workers “tried a range of electrical devices to maintain parks and grounds.”

The devices used include seven backpack blowers, five handheld blowers, three grass trimmers, seven chainsaws and 11 hedge trimmers.

“The overall experience seems positive. The devices are odorless and significantly quieter, which makes them more suitable for evening work if necessary, ”said the spokeswoman.

“On the other hand, power tools can be heavier, (are) not always able to offer enough battery life for commercial use and (are) more expensive.”

While the tools can be five to ten percent cheaper than their gas counterparts, the acquisition costs for batteries outweigh the costs, according to the city.

“However, anything that reduces or eliminates the noisy, smelly and outgassing devices that are traditionally used is a positive step forward for the environment, the city and its users.”

City workers are also trying out an electric ride-on mower, which is significantly quieter and emission-free, but apparently doesn’t last too long before it has to be recharged.

The city will continue to test the battery-powered devices and keep an eye on the autonomous (driverless) mowers, although this technology “seems even further away given our needs,” the spokesman added.

“General experience shows that technology still has a way to go to make electrical equipment suitable for large-scale commercial operations, but manufacturers are well on their way.

“As demand increases and more and more municipalities and companies commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we should see more robust equipment available.”

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