Jan 31, 2017 6:05:00 PM / by Claude Kershner IV

Noise pollution is a real, viable concern in many South Florida condominium communities, country clubs and neighborhoods. The sound of gas-powered landscape equipment can interfere with guest experience at a resort, or diminish quality of life at home.

One thing many property owners in Monroe County share is a love for their surroundings. It’s the reason they choose to spend time in South Florida at a second home, on vacation or as a full-time resident. As a property manager, that means finding ways to preserve the natural setting and seeking out sustainable options for landscape maintenance.

But let’s fact it: Leaves need to be blown out of landscape beds, and grass clippings should be whisked away from edging and off walkways and driveways to maintain an attractive property. The equipment used for leaf and debris cleanup can be loud if it’s gas-powered. And, cleanup happens during daytime hours when people are out enjoying their properties.

The good news is, there are alternatives to gas-powered blowers—and we’re talking about quiet, battery-powered leaf blowers that can significantly cut down on noise pollution. As a property owner or facilities manager, you should have a choice: gas powered or electric leaf blower?

Here are some facts about gas and electric powered hand-held equipment that landscapers use, along with pros and cons so you can make the best decision for your Florida property.

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers: The Pros and Cons

Efficiency Benefits: As the industry standard, gas-powered leaf blowers are efficient and allow landscape crews to maximize their time on your Florida property. Gas blowers are powerful and there is no “infrastructure” required (ie. batteries, charging stations). Most landscape providers are already operating gas-powered blowers, and they are currently most cost-efficient method of removing leaves and debris from your grounds.

The Environmental Downside: Aside from noise pollution, gas-powered engines also contribute carbon monoxide (CO2) exhaust to the environment. Their force can kick up debris and contaminants and disperse those particles into the air. Some neighborhoods, and entire communities, have banned gas-powered leaf blowers.  

The World Health Organization recommends an outdoor noise level of 55 decibels or less. Gas blowers run at an average 70 to 75 decibels measured from 50 feet.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a commercial blower can emit 93 pounds per year of air pollutants.

With tightening regulations on small engine emissions from organizations including the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB), professional landscapers are wise to consider alternative power sources.

The Bottom Line: Gas-powered leaf blowers are the most widely used by landscape maintenance professionals and are highly efficient at accomplishing cleanup tasks. But they do contribute to air pollution and the noise can interfere with quality of life.

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Electric Leaf Blowers: The Pros and Cons

Advantages of Electric: Electric leaf blowers are powered by batteries, environmentally friendly and accomplish landscape maintenance in a quieter, less intrusive way. Some homeowners’ associations require the use of battery-powered equipment because it “keeps the peace” on properties. Using sustainable equipment can even increase property values.

In settings such as resorts, country clubs and other public places where guests may be dining, shopping, relaxing—or sleeping!—battery powered leaf blowers are a more considerate option vs. gas powered blowers.

Possible Cost Drivers: Electric blowers require batteries and power stations, and that can be costly upfront investment. It also could potentially increase the price of maintenance services, depending on how the landscape provider manages the cost. Also, battery powered leaf blowers are not yet quite as efficient as gas-powered equipment, so properly clearing your grounds likely will take longer (depending on its size). That could drive up the cost of labor.

The Bottom Line: Electric leaf blowers are a viable alternative to gas-powered blowers, and their quiet operation is desirable in many settings: country clubs, condominium complexes, resorts and neighborhoods. However, the cost of using a battery-powered leaf blower might be more because maintenance might take longer, translating to more labor hours.

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Can Your Landscape Provider Provide a Choice?

Since January 1, Reef Tropical has committed to Ocean Reef’s regulation to use only electric blowers on site. And, we believe other property managers might be interested in this more sustainable, mindful option for landscape maintenance. Offering electric blowers vs. gas powered is the responsible thing to do as an industry leader and environmental steward.

Technology is constantly evolving, and commercial battery-powered blowers on the market today offer competitive power and efficiency. While gas-powered blowers continue to be the industry standard, we see how this might evolve in the future as more landscape professionals adopt environmentally friendly methods for grounds maintenance.

Interested in knowing about how a battery-powered leaf blower will clear leaves and debris vs. a gas-powered blower? We’d be happy to compare both methods so you can review the benefits.

As a property owner or facility manager, you should have a say in how your landscape is managed—and how sustainably it is maintained. That’s why we made the move to offering battery-powered leaf blowers.

Let’s talk more about sustainable maintenance options for your South Florida landscape. Call us any time at 305-367-2005, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.

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Topics: Landscape Maintenance

Claude Kershner IV

Written by Claude Kershner IV

President Reef Tropical • Pool & Landscape

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