Clean Air Lawn Care: No More Gas Blowers


There are few things that set me cringing more quickly that the sight and sound of some poor guy with a smoking gas motor on his back blowing leaves around on the sidewalk. In fact, I’d put the gas powered leaf blower up there with car alarms as one of humanity’s worst inventions. Lawn mowers, chainsaws, and other landscaping contraptions are not a whole lot better, either for the sanity of one’s neighbors, nor for people’s health – one leaf blower can emit as much pollution as 80 cars. (See EPA PDF here)
The good news is that not only are many electric, and (gasp) hand-powered lawn care alternatives available, but they are growing in popularity. So much so, that entrepreneurs like Clean Air Lawn Care are moving in to make successful businesses out of specializing in a cleaner, more sane approach to classic suburban lawn maintenance ritual.

The company has committed to avoiding noisy, filthy gas-powered equipment in favor of electric models – which are charged by solar panels on their trucks (soon to be hybrids), as well as by wind power. When alternative energy is not available, Carbonfund offsets bring the company’s net emissions to zero. Additionally, the company makes an effort to educate customers about general concepts of sustainability, waste disposal, fertilizer use etc..
I wondered if the company was doomed to fit only a niche of hard-core green customers, but according to Chicagoland franchise operator Steve Neuman, customers are motivated for a variety of reasons: Quiet operations, the emergence of legal restrictions on leaf blowers, and family health all fall into the equations. According to Steve:

People are excited about the fact that by choosing us they can make a real difference in the health of their families and their communities as well as the environment. I think people are looking for a way to make choices that are better for the environment, and we give them an easy alternative. They can still have quality lawn care, but in a cleaner, quieter more sustainable manner and at a competitive price. They feel good about choosing us and making a real difference.

The company, based in Fort Collins, CO, offers franchises in 9 states currently and looks eager to expand.
(image from Jeff Buster.)

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

2 responses

  1. Oh do I hate leaf blowers. They loud and smelly and annoying, as you note. Also, their use is an obvious practice in futility. Human blow leafs to one corner, the wind blows them back. I don’t get it.
    But having lived for a time in a cold climate, relying on a wood stove for warmth, I must say that I do think the chainsaw is a marvel and am glad we didn’t have to cut all our wood by hand or with an anemic-seeming electric saw.
    Maybe I’m wrong tho: does anyone know if electric chainsaws get the job done?

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