By Jared Kelty
Courtesy of TurfMagazine.com
Landscaping and grounds can bring more to a facility than just ambience and aesthetics. They can play a critical role in contributing to a thriving ecosystem, and—when utilized optimally—can help support a companies’ or building owners’ commitment to reduce their carbon footprint, meet net-zero goals and, ultimately, contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet.
But for grounds departments looking to go green, knowing where to start can be a daunting task. The key is creativity and innovation. As a project manager with ESFM, the corporate Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) division of Compass Group U.S., I’ve assisted our clients in finding ways to help drive positive environmental change when it comes groundskeeping. Here are four:
1. Embrace Electric.
For one ESFM life sciences client, where landscaping equipment across six sites was converted to electric, annual fuel consumption was reduced by 5,500 gallons. In fact, replacing just one piece of equipment eliminates 216 pounds of NMHCs (non-methane hydrocarbons) and 900 pounds of CO (carbon monoxide) each year. Compound that over the number of pieces of equipment replaced and the picture becomes clearer (as does the atmosphere) for why electric is a great option for sustainable landscaping.
2. Get The Goat.
While battery-power is a great long-term option, there is yet another seasonal alternative which is completely natural and uniquely suited to areas of large acreage outside of city limits: animals!
Some companies have “hired” such additional help, bringing in sheep, goats, and other grazers into their landscaping fold. While the animals chow down, keeping weeds and grass at bay, they simultaneously add fertilizer and aerate the grounds with their hooves, tilling and enhancing the soil.
The benefits are twofold. With the sheep enjoying a vacation from their farm, companies can reduce their use of chemicals to remove invasive plants like poison ivy and other vines and eliminate emissions from gas-powered mowers.
ESFM has brought sheep in to graze around a solar field at a client location in New Jersey during the summer months. The animals are welcome guests …