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Air District opens lawn mower program for commercial use

POSTED August 23, 2012 4:59 p.m.

A pilot program from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is offering commercial lawn care operators the chance to use and evaluate electric yard equipment.

The Valley Air District is accepting applications through Sept. 20 for the new Cordless Zero-Emission Commercial Lawn and Garden Equipment Demonstration Program. The pilot program is open only to commercial lawn care operations located in the Valley air basin and must be used in non-residential applications.

Participating companies can choose from a list of approved vendors offering battery-operated equipment that includes commercial-rated, self-propelled and cordless lawnmowers, sweepers, blowers, chain saws and trimmers. An Air District grant program will fund the demonstration equipment for companies and public agencies selected for the program.

The purpose of the program is to demonstrate the performance of cordless zero-emission commercial lawn and garden equipment in non-residential applications in the hopes that it will accelerate market acceptance and build upon the progress already made in the residential sector, the Air District reported.

Right now, zero-emission equipment is limited in the commercial sector. The demonstration will give participants hands-on familiarity with the equipment and help further improve the use of clean technologies.

“Through everyday use of this cutting-edge equipment, companies will be able to evaluate its performance,” said Seyed Sadredin, the Valley Air District’s executive director and air pollution control officer. “We hope this study will accelerate acceptance of clean-air equipment and build upon the progress already made in the residential sector.”

The program also hopes to gain feedback about the equipment’s durability and performance, which could be used to further new clean air technology.

Previously, the Air District has offered residents vouchers to trade in their gas-powered lawn mowers for electric versions.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, using 800 million gallons of gasoline per year. The average gas mower can emit the same amount of pollutants in an hour as a typical car driven 45 miles, according to the EPA.

In 2011, the EPA instituted new regulations that require a 35 percent reduction in emissions from new lawn and garden equipment.

Eligible applicants are public agencies that have their own lawn care maintenance teams and private, professional, licensed landscape businesses, including those that contract with public agencies.

Applications are available at http://www.valleyair.org/Grant_Programs/GrantPrograms.htm#CordlessLawnMachine and will be accepted by mail or in person only.

For more information about the Cordless Zero-Emission Commercial Lawn and Garden Equipment Demonstration Program, visit weberip@valleyair.org or call District staff at 559-230-5800.

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