Displacing petroleum in the landscaping industry

Minneapolis’ annual tradeshow for outdoor professionals highlights the newest commercially viable alternative fuel landscaping equipment.

electric mowers in landscape industry
Electric lawn equipment manufacturers such as Greenworks provided hands on demonstrations and information currently available in the market today.

Every January, Minneapolis is home to Northern Green, a tradeshow for a variety of outdoor professionals. Landscape contractors, parks and recreation managers, and others from the Midwest come to network, see the newest equipment available, and hear sessions given by industry professionals.

Outdoor professionals who attend this event are able to learn about products available on the market that they may not learn about from their relationship with their regular/local dealership. They are able to see and kick the tires of the products currently offered by equipment manufacturers and dealerships, including the most advanced alternative fuel equipment. This year a talk focusing on battery operated outdoor equipment was included as well.

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With rapidly advancing alternative fuel technology, in particular advancing battery technology, it is important that fleet managers have up-to-date information about available technology. Many reasons fleet managers had for not adopting electric or other alternative fuel landscape equipment in previous years when they bought new equipment may no longer be relevant. Long run times and high power outputs offered by equipment now available may be sufficient to meet daily work needs.

Ben Sosin talking to outdoor and landscaping industry workers
Ben Sosin talked to dozens of landscape equipment owners, managers, and superintendents about the benefits of electric and alternative fuels in commercial landscape equipment.


Fleet managers who have now adopted electric equipment have had very positive feedback from their personnel. The electric equipment is convenient and easy to use, and they have not had issues with the equipment breaking down. Electric equipment also does not expose workers unpleasant smells or to the pollutants emitted by conventional gasoline equipment.

Managers also have not typically replaced all of their gas equipment with electric, to allow education and smart transition before making the switch. And while electric equipment like chainsaws may not be able to tackle every job, they are great for dealing with the smaller but important jobs. With electricity being less expensive than gasoline, electric equipment may provide an economically advantageous choice for these landscape contractors.

In the pursuit of ensuring that fleet managers have the most up-to-date information, the Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition (TC4) has compiled a spreadsheet containing currently available alternative fuel landscape equipment with extensive product details. If you are a fleet manager who is interested in learning about the options available to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to lisa.thurstin@lung.org to receive a copy of the spreadsheet.




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