Landscape Solutions: The grass is greener with propane-fueled lawnmowers

Written by Sean Chung, Greater Indiana Clean Cities intern

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Lantern on Green Lawn
"Lawn Lantern" by mpardo.photo is marked with CC0 1.0

Founded in 2003, Landscape Solutions is a landscape management provider that serves central Indiana and is headquartered in Noblesville. Landscape Solutions counts among its customers corporate, commercial and industrial facilities as well as homeowner associations, retail properties, and multi-family dwellings.

Landscape Solutions is a pioneer of alternative fuels within the landscaping industry and as a small business in Indiana. Landscape Solutions has also been a long-standing member of Greater Indiana Clean Cities.

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Photo taken during Greater Indiana Clean Cities Annual Awards Event in March 2020. Landscape Solutions, LLC accepting the award: Best Achievement – Propane Autogas
 
Pictured from left to right: Josh Harvey, Vice President, Landscape Solutions; Brian Spear, President, Landscape Solutions; Ryan Jones, Vice President of Sales, Landscape Solutions; Kerri Garvin, Executive Director, Greater Indiana; Mark Smith, Vehicle Technologies Deployment Manager, U.S. Department of Energy

“Customers don’t even remember us doing anything else,” Brian Spear, President of Landscape Solutions, said.

Landscape Solutions carries the distinction of being one of the first landscape management providers to operate a fleet of lawnmowers and production equipment fully fueled by propane. Their decision to switch to propane was motivated by a sense of environmental responsibility to improve air quality and reduce the amount of carcinogenic pollutants released by the use of conventional fuels. 

However, this switch did not come without challenges. When transitioning to propane, Landscape Solutions realized they required a large amount of propane to fuel their lawnmowers and did not have the large-scale refueling infrastructure to do it. Josh Harvey, Vice President and Head of Operations, was instrumental in building out Landscape Solutions’ refueling infrastructure that was key to the company’s successful transition to propane.

“Finding a good, reliable system for the autos as well as the mowers” was a challenge because “some of the early operating systems were unreliable and not efficient,” Spear said.

The switch is already paying off as the lower cost of propane has largely offset the initial equipment cost. And, the cleaner air, emissions reductions, and commitment to environmentally-friendly practices are “worth the up-front investment,” Spear said. 

Propane isn’t the only alternative fuel Landscape Solutions has invested in. Landscape Solutions is also implementing electric-powered options. The team purchased several Chevy Volts, light-duty plug-in hybrid cars, to transport employees. The Volts have been a hit with staff and customers alike, and Spear looks forward to improved range and battery life as the technology continues to advance.

Spear predicts customers will play a much bigger role in encouraging landscaping companies to embrace alternative fuels, like propane. He sees education as the key to advancing the use of cleaner fuels and believes that “younger generations of customers and professional managers will aggressively embrace the technology.”

Source: Landscape Solutions

“As the demand from the customer pushes for more environmentally friendly alternatives, the vendor has to change. The customer creating the expectation will be the big driver to change,” Spear said.

In the future, Spear hopes to see newer and better clean technology and alternative fuels. He is optimistic that as technology improves and customers demand environmentally sensible solutions, more companies in the landscaping industry will begin to embrace more eco-friendly practices.

Landscape Solutions is a member of Greater Indiana and supports Greater Indiana’s mission to promote education and the deployment of alternative fuels.

Landscape Solutions is a full-service landscape management provider in central Indiana. They specialize in corporate, commercial and industrial facilities as well as homeowner associations, retail properties, and multi-family dwellings. Landscape Solutions is dedicated to providing the highest quality landscape maintenance, landscape enhancement, and snow removal services to their clients, through proven, scientific horticultural practices, high efficiency, an unparalleled dedication to customer service, and cutting-edge sustainable, green practices.

Greater Indiana is a Clean Cities Coalition focused on advancing communities with education and resources on alternative fuel vehicles. The standalone nonprofit 501(c)3 organization serves 76 counties, working with public and private sector members. Greater Indiana is a resource for members integrating alternative fuels, technologies, and efficiency measures. Greater Indiana hosts educational and networking events fostering opportunities for partnerships between fleets and industry providers. By facilitating these partnerships and projects, Greater Indiana is fostering the economic, environmental, and energy security of the United States.

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