Noise and air pollution in Ansley Park caused by gas leaf blowers continue to be an irritant and health risk for residents. The topic has been discussed recently in the neighborhood newsletter, the Ansleyphile. (Gas-Powered Blowers Shatter Neighborhood Peace - Ansleyphile August 2022; A Few Words About Leaf Blowers - Ansleyphile May 2021)
Below is a review of some of the negative impacts of gas blowers and the superiority of their electric alternatives.
1. Extreme Noise
Most lawns in Ansley are maintained by companies using high decibel (>100dB) gas leaf blowers. Their noise can be disturbing 800 feet away. In a neighborhood like Ansley Park, operating a single commercial gas blower can disturb 90 surrounding homes, even more if 2 blowers are in use. The low frequency sound of 2-cycle gas engines is particularly able to penetrate glass and concrete, so being indoors often does not protect one from the noise. Battery electric blowers produce a higher frequency sound that does not penetrate buildings nearly as much. The noise produced by a powerful electric blower (approximately 75dB) impacts on average only 6 surrounding homes.
2. Health Risks
The air pollutants emitted by a single gas powered leaf blower with a 2-cycle engine is hundreds of times higher than those produced by a car. Operating one commercial blower for an hour generates pollutants equivalent to driving a full size car or pick-up 1100 miles. Gas blowers release benzene, butadiene, formaldehyde and fine particulates - substances known to cause cancer and diseases of the respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological systems. Being near one of these engines is equivalent to breathing the air in a busy urban intersection. Electric blowers do not produce any toxic exhaust.
3. Climate Warming
Gas blowers release significant amounts of carbon dioxide and fine particulates, both with climate warming effects. Although manufacturers have made some improvements to reduce emissions, lawn maintenance equipment is still one of the largest sources of CO2 and air pollutants in the U.S. Electric leaf blowers do not produce any harmful exhaust and contribute less to climate change.
4. Social Justice
Lawn maintenance workers are exposed to loud noise and are breathing concentrated, toxic gasoline exhaust many hours a day. These operators are typically low-income workers and may not realize the harmful health effects of this exposure. In any case, they have little say over the type of equipment they have to use. Electric lawn tools do not expose workers to these hazards.
5. Electric Alternative
Fortunately, electric lawn tools are now made with the power and battery life needed for commercial use. More than 200 cities have restricted gas blowers and California is planning to completely eliminate small gas engines. An impediment to switching to electric is cost, primarily the long lasting batteries. Over time, however, electric equipment saves money on fuel and maintenance, which substantially offsets the initial investment. As one industry consultant said, the change to electric will come when the customers demand it and companies have to offer this better product in order to compete in the marketplace.
The companies listed below provide battery electric lawn care and work in Ansley Park:
A Garden Scape – Offers zero emission and noise reduced lawn maintenance for residential and commercial companies in the Greater Atlanta area. Call: 770-565-0925 https://www.agardenscape.com/
ATLecoScapes – Zero Emission Lawn Maintenance, Eco-Friendly Landscaping & Smart Irrigation - 404-259-4340 https://atlecoscapes.com/
Beauty Berry Gardens – Offers all Electric landscaping and maintenance https://www.beautyberrygardens.com/
Clean Air Lawn Care- Organic & Electric Atlanta Lawn Care Service. Bret Hightower 678-612-4901 https://www.cleanairlawncareatlanta.com/
Convivial Landscapes – Offers all electric landscaping services for residential, commercial and governmental partners.
Metro Lawns - Low noise, no emission battery electric mowers, blowers and trimmers for most lawns. Also offers robotic mowers. Call: Chuck Vogt (404) 875-2967 https://metrolawns.com
Plants Creative Landscapes – Offers Electric Lawn Care service in addition to traditional lawn care service. Committed to going all electric by 2024. https://plantscreative.com/
Additional information about gas leaf blowers is available at QuietGA.com.
Ansley Park Civic Association - PO Box 570119 - Atlanta, GA 30357