Landscaping Maintenance

Low Impact to the Environment…Will It Have Big Impacts on You?

As I sit down to write this article, I must admit this is one of the hardest I’ve ever done. I just want to scream “Stop, this is out of control!! You’re only hurting yourself!!” But I also recognize that isn’t very equidistant of me. So, I will promise beyond this paragraph I will be in the middle the most I can.

One of my favorite regulations is based on the title of this article. Low impact landscaping. No, this doesn’t mean “you aren’t impacted by the company performing the work.” This has to do with the landscape design. The goal of low impact landscaping is to conserve water, reduce maintenance costs, help prevent pollution, and create a habitat for wildlife.  In a nutshell, buy yourself a rain barrel to reuse the water on your butterfly bushes that are allowing bees to pollinate. Yes, those same bees that are in decline but are enjoying your house because pesticides and herbicides aren’t being sprayed all over your lawn.  This will affect your communities in ways that will be both great and frustrating. Over time, I’m assuming, the bright green lawns with a few plants along the base of your foundation will be gone. Instead, people will be able to remove all their grass and plant a smorgasbord of plants resulting in what resembles a weed field. Covenant enforcement will likely have to change as this becomes more common and homeowners do their part to create a natural habitat.  Will new bylaws need to be written? As the regulations are in the infancy stages, it is hard to tell. However, it will be paramount to continue following along as things change, rely on your landscaper to know the regulations, and hope at some point the cancel culture finds something new to focus on.

Speaking of the “cancel culture” the war on gas powered equipment is being won. Yet the customer is ultimately going to lose.

As an avid outdoorsman with 3 kids, I fully understand the importance of protecting our environment and the future for our children’s children to enjoy. However, sometimes great ideas are just a little too early and the execution just isn’t there. In a nutshell, the power equipment industry isn’t prepared to deliver on the goods that residents are demanding.  Most of the batteries can’t produce near enough power and run time to make this an efficient option. A quick google search shows that the average run time is around 90 minutes for a blower. The wind speed is producing at best 150 mph. In comparison a gas blower can run for roughly the same amount of time but without the need for changing 3-4 batteries in a day. Also, producing wind speeds up to 200mph. Just the wind speed alone shows how much that will affect customers when it comes to getting the job done properly and effectively. Landscape companies will now be required to outfit their trailers with multiple batteries, a battery charger, and of course the power to make sure all of that is charging while the truck sits idle. Expensive and time consuming, you bet, so who is going to pay for that? The answer is obvious the customer. The client will soon begin seeing prices go higher as more companies are tasked with purchasing and setting up this equipment. Along with the time it will now take for the crew to complete a project. So, what is the better option? I’m not 100% sure but I do know that as power equipment companies are forced deeper into the battery market, we will see leaps and bounds improvement. But for the time being the customer’s will be financing the R&D of these products.

Thus concludes our monthly landscape lesson…now on to fossil fuels…

In December of 2021, New York City banned the use of natural gasses in all new construction. Joining California, Massachusetts, and Washington, which have adopted the same philosophy on gas bans.  The good news to these bans aside from the obvious, is they are not overnight changes. In DC and Maryland, they are working to reduce their levels by 2032 and Virginia is still working on bills to regulate this. The proposal in some instances won’t have a large impact on many residents as the bills are aimed at new construction implementing net-zero-energy. Which will be a great selling point for new homeowners both purchasing and ultimately selling their homes. As most of you read this, I’m sure you’re wondering how you’ll be affected. At this point there isn’t much to report. However, and I hate creating more work for my property managers, but I encourage them and boards to begin researching the options for retrofitting their systems in the upcoming years including incentives to make changes.  Much like the tax credit of buying electric vehicle, solar panels are also providing credits and that is a “Side Hussle” that our great grandchildren will thank us for.

By Dave Foreman

Dave is the business development manager for Valcourt Building Services in the window cleaning division. Along with window cleaning Valcourt also serves the DMV area with waterproofing and façade restoration services. Dave’s commitment to exterior maintenance and dedication to customer service has provided him with 21 years of knowledge in this region.