One thing that several people commented on was the issue of gas-powered lawn equipment. Several people told us the Town should ban such equipment. Nobody told us NOT to do this (it is in the plan to do it), but at least one person has spoken to me individually suggesting that this will be a problem.
So, here are some perspectives on this issue.
First, gas-powered lawn equipment is not a large item of concern when it comes to total emissions. In our inventory, it is about 2% of total emissions. This category is oddly named - "off-road vehicles." It includes every kind of thing that is not transportation or a building. So, it includes lawn equipment, construction equipment, and agricultural equipment. We don't have a lot of this in Fairfax. Still, if we are going to get to zero emissions, we are going to need to eliminate these emissions.
The biggest issue with gas-powered equipment is that it is more powerful than electric equipment. I understand that many manufacturers, seeing the writing on the wall, are developing high powered electric equipment. I hope they are successful soon.
For most of us, though, we do not need so much power, and we are easily able to make do with the electric devices.
Electric devices have many advantages over gas-powered devices:
1. They are quieter. Gas powered devices produce more low frequency noise, and this noise carries further. HERE.
2. They are lighter. This makes a difference to those of us who use them somewhat occasionally. HERE.
3. Over the life of the equipment, electric costs less. HERE.
4. The electric devices start much more easily and are easier and take less time to maintain. HERE.
5. And, most important from the perspective of the climate, electric devices, especially if powered from renewable electricity, are MUCH cleaner than gas appliances. HERE.
And many of our neighboring towns and jurisdictions are already banning these devices. HERE.
I do not speak for the Town, or even for the Climate Action Committee. It is clear that the advantages, for most people, are overwhelmingly in favor of electric lawn equipment versus gasoline equipment. And, the CAP includes a provision for banning them at some point.
The best thing we can all do is to not dig ourselves into a deeper hole; the next time you buy any tool, including any kind of landscape equipment, make it electric and not gas. When we start to think about actually enacting a ban, maybe it will exempt, for some years, commercial contractors, who need the power that today is mostly found in gas-powered equipment. In the long run, we need the manufacturers to help us with this issue so that the people who care for some of our landscaping needs are not burdened with loud, health-harming, heavy, hard to maintain equipment.
Together, we can do this.