A new arsenal of cleaner, quieter, and climate-friendly landscaping equipment will soon join the electric carts and hybrid police cars already traversing Harvard Yard. Campus Services is equipping crews in the Yard with electric, battery-powered leaf blowers, grass trimmers, and tree pruners. These tools are much less noisy than conventional equipment and emit no air pollution. The move follows last year’s successful pilot program on the Science Center Plaza where workers found the commercial battery-powered versions performed just as effectively as those using gasoline.

“Our hope is that as technology improves we can expand the pilot to other parts of campus and incorporate battery-powered mowers and chainsaws,” said Wayne Carbone, Manager of Landscape Services. While some workers across campus still use gas-powered tools, they operate at a reduced decibel level and at limited times of the day.

Implementing best practices in sustainable operations and acting on climate are two key commitments in Harvard’s University-wide Sustainability Plan, which is focused on enhancing the wellbeing of people and the planet. The Plan includes a commitment to develop Sustainable Landscaping Standards by 2020 based on Campus Services’ award-winning Organic Landscaping Program.