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Going Green With Electric Equipment | Sustainability

District of Rother and Borough of Hastings
Our services
District of Rother and Borough of Hastings | 2021 | Hastings

Going Green With Electric Equipment

Originally suggested by our Sports Turf Operative Team Leader Shaun Godfrey, we made the switch to electric greens mowers to maintain bowling greens for local authorities and private clubs across the district of Rother and Borough of Hastings. 

As a leading provider of grounds maintenance and landscape construction services, idverde uses a range of equipment daily to undertake a range of activities including street cleansing, landscape creation, arboriculture and maintaining public and private spaces. Without being environmentally conscious, our daily use of equipment could have a negative contribution to carbon emissions and air quality.

Petrol mowers contribute to more emissions than you may think. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a gas-powered lawnmower produces the equivalent emissions in one hour of operation as 11 cars each being driven for one hour. Not only that, the EPA estimates spillage from petrol-powered garden tools amounts to over 17 million gallons worldwide. In the UK alone, it is an estimate of around a million gallons.

As part of our effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we have been switching our machinery and equipment to electric-powered alternatives over the past 12 years. This year alone, we have purchased a total of 145 small electric equipment, investing over £500,000. This change in approach to our service solutions is particularly relevant to the sports sector where maintenance tasks are often of a high frequency requiring machines to run every day throughout the playing season and for many hours a week. 

electric mower

Electric greens mowers

Originally suggested by our Sports Turf Operative Team Leader Shaun Godfrey, we made the switch to electric greens mowers to maintain bowling greens for local authorities and private clubs across the district of Rother and Borough of Hastings. 

Shaun is part of a team that is responsible for a wide range of sports turf operations covering football, cricket, golf and tennis facilities and he has 35 years of experience behind him. Additionally, his sports turf maintenance experience is matched by his sporting ability as he has played bowls for most of his life. 

A talented player, Shaun has represented both County (Sussex) and Country (England) during his playing career and recently competed in the England Double Fours, getting as far as the last 16. His career highlight came when he captained his White Rock team to a Bowls England Men’s National Triples Championship in 2012, something he described as the pinnacle of his career. 

Shaun first mentioned the idea of electric mowers to his manager after decades of machinery use had left him feeling the effects of hand and arm vibration. After using the mowers across four playing seasons and each machine having a joint run-time of 1000 hours, we spoke to Shaun about his experience using the electric alternatives.

What made you switch to electric greens mowers?

I’ve been using a combustion engine kit for over 35 years now and I was concerned about the impact of long-term exposure to machinery vibration. I’d heard about the new battery-powered machines and how they significantly reduce vibrations so I asked my manager if we could switch to them if the opportunity arose. 

How do they compare to conventional mowers?

They are superior in many ways. They take some getting used to, but once you overcome the difference in how they feel and respond you start reaping the benefits. 

They are so quiet you can barely tell the motors are running. As a result, I don’t need to wear ear protection anymore. It also means I can start mowing earlier. Previously, I couldn’t mow certain greens until 7:30 am due to their close proximity to residential properties. I can now start as early as 4:30 am and we’ve never received a complaint. I can get all of the greens mown before clubs are due to start playing.

How about the mechanical side of things, robustness and repairs? 

Because the machinery vibration is so low the additional wear from increasing vibration each year that conventional machines experience just isn’t there. I would usually go through two bottom blades per season, per machine. With these new mowers, I am approaching the end of the second season and I am still using the original first blade from last season. This means that instead of using four, I’ve only used one. 

How much petrol have you saved since making the switch to electric?

We previously used somewhere between five to 10 litres a week per machine. As we used two machines, it was around 15 litres a week over seven months. We save in the region of 450 litres of petrol per year now. I can also mow three bowling greens with a single machine before needing to recharge it.


The benefits of electric mowing equipment


The machines we use are emission-free, so there are no waste products that pollute the environment or disrupt the climate.

Less noise pollution

The Toro Greenmaster Series is an extremely quiet machine, emitting hardly any noise. This benefits not only the team at idverde who do not need to wear headphones, but also surrounding neighbourhoods when maintaining spaces. 

Easier to maintain

Electric mowers can result in fewer repairs than traditional petrol mowers. With the current equipment we use, there is less friction. Parts now last longer without needing to be replaced.

Built-in computer

The mowers come with built-in computers that can identify any mechanical faults so that the user can safely operate them. It can also sense if you are going too fast, so you can decrease your speed to achieve a better quality of cut. This also enables you to get more out of your battery life.

Sustainability focused

Emissions aren’t the only thing we consider at idverde. We implement key values and build long-standing relationships to look after local green spaces and protect the environment for future generations. Read more about our Sustainability Strategy here.