Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has launched a new program to encourage businesses, public agencies, and schools to use electric-powered landscaping equipment.
The Landscape Equipment Electrification Fund (LEEF) pilot program, which began on March 4, is offering to provide vouchers covering up to 60 percent of the cost for eligible landscape equipment and up to 100 percent of the cost for additional batteries and chargers for equipment purchased through the program, up to a maximum of $10,000 per organization. Commercial landscaping businesses — as well as public agencies and public and private schools and universities that perform their own landscape maintenance — are eligible for the program. Individual homeowners are not eligible to apply.
Gasoline- and diesel-powered landscaping equipment is highly polluting and contributes to regional and neighborhood air quality impacts. Operating the best-selling commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much smog-forming pollution as driving a top-selling 2017 passenger car about 300 miles – approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. For the best-selling commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a passenger car about 1,100 miles, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Denver. The California Air Resources Board estimates that in the early 2020s, smog-forming emissions from small engines (a large portion of which are used in landscaping equipment) will exceed those from passenger cars statewide.
“This new pilot project is a great opportunity to partner with local businesses, governments, and schools to incorporate zero-emission landscaping equipment into their daily operations, at a reduced cost,” said APCD Director Aeron Arlin Genet. “This program provides improved air quality for individuals operating the equipment and reduces neighborhood impacts.”