Gas powered leaf blowers affect hearing, emit smog pollution, disperse particulate matter and dust into the air, and destroy beneficial soil microbes and insect habitats critical to pollination. According to the California Air Resources Board, the best-selling commercial leaf blower in use for an hour emits smog-forming pollution comparable to the Camry traveling 1,100 miles.
Municipalities should restrict the use of gas-powered equipment, such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers on all residential and commercial properties. Potential ways of doing this are through a noise ordinance, an air quality ordinance, or a biodiversity ordinance. The use of electric leaf blowers should be restricted to spring and fall clean-ups to minimize noise pollution, and the destruction of topsoil and insect habitats. The ban should include municipal operators.
Electric outdoor equipment saves residents money. Corded electric mowers will use $15 to $22 per year in electricity, depending on how often you mow, while battery-operated mowers will cost $11 to $18 per year in electricity to charge their batteries. In comparison, gas mowers use approximately $20 to $35 of gasoline per year, depending on how often the mower is used and the price per gallon of gasoline.
Prohibit the use of internal combustion leaf blowers and restrict use of electric leaf blowers to spring and fall cleanups effective 2022.
Prohibit the use of non-electric lawn and garden equipment no later than 2030.
Electric outdoor equipment isn’t as widely available as internal combustion equipment. However, products are available today, including commercial-grade zero turn mowers.
Perception related to power of equipment and length of charge.
Several municipalities have already implemented this action…
- Washington, DC will prohibit the sale, offer for sale, or use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in the District of Columbia, beginning on January 1, 2022
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reductions
Emissions by using gas blower leaf blower for an hour [Gas Powered Leaf Blower Noise and Emissions Factsheet ]
Emissions by using electric leaf blower for an hour. [GAS POWERED versus BATTERY POWERED LEAF BLOWERS]
Emissions by using gas and electric lawn mower for a year per household. [How to Calculate the Carbon Footprint of Your Lawn Mower]
Number of households in Bethlehem, NY: 14485 houses [Town of Bethlehem Demographic and Growth Analysis 1991-2018, pg 21]
Half of the total household have leaf blower and no electric snow blowers are used.
Operation time of leaf blower is assumed to be 15 hours per year per household.
We calculated the:
- The average emissions by a household using gas and electric leaf blower in a year.
- Total emissions by all households per year by using gas and electric leaf blower.
- Emission reduction when gas leaf blowers are substituted by electric leaf blowers.
- Total emissions by all households per year by using gas and electric lawn mower.
- Emission reduction when gas lawn mowers are substituted by electric one lawn mowers.
1590 metric tons of CO2e is reduced per year by switching from gas to electric outdoor equipment’s.
This results in MODERATE GHG emissions reductions.
Climate Smart Communities (CSC) & Clean Energy Communities (CEC) Link
No direct counterpart exists for this action in the CEC and CSC frameworks, but if municipalities include these bans in a local Stretch Building Code, they can:
- Access 1200 CEC points and also action grants of up to $50k through CEC’s NYStretch Energy Code Action. After completing this CEC action, municipalities can also:
- Earn 10 CSC points through CSC’s PE6 Action: NYStretch Energy Code.
There are multiple co-benefits to completing this action, including:
- Less noise pollution = quieter neighborhoods
- Improved air quality
- Economic savings for electric vs. gas-powered equipment
- Avoided insect habitat destruction
- Avoided topsoil disturbance
Larchmont, NY is the only municipality in the Northeast to ban gas powered leaf blowers year round. Most impose seasonal restrictions, such as 14 municipalities in NYS (Bronxville, Dobbs Ferry, Great Neck Estates, Greenberg, Huntington, Larchmont, New Rochelle, Russell Gardens, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Thomaston Village, Village of Tuckahoe, White Plains, Yonkers and East Hampton).
The newspaper The East Hampton Star published the articles “There’s Got to Be A Better Way: Landscaping With Less Noise and Pollution” and “East Hampton Town Limits Leaf Blowers.”
Washington, DC has an ordinance prohibiting the sale, offer for sale, or use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in the District of Columbia, beginning on January 1, 2022.
hdsupplysolutions.com/s/leaf_blower_noise_regulationWashington, D.C. Approximately 20 municipalities in California imposte either seasonal or year round bans on both gas and/or electric powered leaf blowers.