Sustainable Practices in Public Works

The public works department of Narberth has been exploring ways to reduce our emissions and fuel usage.  With the support of borough council, borough management and the Narberth EAC, we have been able to begin ordering battery powered landscape equipment.  Public works has committed to replacing all gas-powered landscape equipment to battery powered, from our zero-turn mower for the field, down to a 16” chainsaw for light tree trimming and storm cleanup.  Public works was also able to order an electric John Deere utility vehicle for field work.  This unit will replace our current diesel gator.  Given the size of our parks and landscape maintenance work, we can make this switch without compromising the quality of the parks and borough owned property.  Our hope is that folks will see that if electric landscape equipment can work for a public works department, then it can work for the average homeowner.  These machines are much quieter and require almost zero maintenance.

Switching to electric equipment is only the beginning.  Public works is in the process of evaluating our plant material purchased each year to reduce our water usage as well.  While Narberth will still have select impact planting beds with flowers, we will be incorporating perennials over the next few seasons to cut back on the amount of annuals purchased which ultimately leads to less watering each morning during the summer months.  Appropriate plant choices will reduce the number of maintenance occurrences as well.  Perennials often require trimming once a year.  This will reduce the number of times a truck must go to maintain landscaped areas and flowerpots.  It’s important to note that this change will not have an impact on the beauty of downtown Narberth. 

While there is currently no option available for electric service trucks, public works is working to create tighter scheduling to avoid excessive trips to complete tasks.  We can generate a list of work orders in a confined area and handle them all at once.  With altering our scheduling, we can reduce our fuel consumption and idle time.

Jeff Eldon, Public Works Manager