Electric Leaf Blower Transition Project

Applicant Name

Jenevra Wetmore

Applicant Organization

Sustainable Woodstock

Phone Number

8022911003

Mailing Address

32 Pleasant Street, Second Floor

Woodstock

VT

05901

Grant Request Summary

Sustainable Woodstock seeks to partner with the Public Works Department of Woodstock to fund two electric leaf blowers for town and village use. Currently, the Town and Village Highway Garages use backpack leaf blowers for lawn care in the spring and fall. The Village crew also uses leaf blowers to clean potholes. Replacing gas blowers with electric blowers would significantly decrease noise pollution in town and eliminate air pollution. Additionally, electric blowers are safer for the workers operating them and the general public.

Sustainable Woodstock is also in the process of developing educational materials on the safety and environmental hazards of gas-powered leaf blowers. The grant would allow us to do a small print run of pamphlets to provide to residents, local contractors, and businesses who employ them. These educational materials would provide a helpful companion to the example set by the town’s switch to electric blowers.

Project Budget

$2,500 - $4,999

Desired Grant Amount

$2,500 - $4,999

Other Funding Sources

Project Timeframe

Depending on the date of the grant decision, we would provide the leaf blowers to the town by spring 2022, and would complete and print a leaf blower pamphlet by summer of 2022

How will this project benefit the economic and community development of Woodstock?

Noise is directly linked to how people, both residents and visitors, experience the Town and Village of Woodstock. This is especially relevant in foliage season, a popular time to come to Woodstock and the time of year when leaf blowers are most in use. The constant throttling up and down and high decibel range of gas leaf blowers exceeds noise safety standards set by the WHO and the EPA. For reference, general ambient noise in a home is 40-45 decibels, whereas the decibel range of a leaf blower is 100-115; noise can even be as high as 90 decibels from 50’ away. Most of us know from experience that the noise produced by leaf blowers is grating and unpleasant.

Beyond noise pollution, emissions produced by gas leaf blowers are harmful to the environment and human health. Though a leaf blower may seem small, operating just one gas leaf blower for an hour can create as much smog-forming pollution as driving a Toyota Camry 1,100 miles. Leaf blowers use 2-stroke engine fuel–a gas-oil mixture that is especially toxic compared to automobile emissions. Using a leaf blower produces hazardous pollutants that linger in the air long after the work has been done. We do not need to expose our community to this air pollution when electric leaf blowers are a viable option that produces no emissions.

Switching to electric leaf blowers will also help our town reach its stated climate goals, including: The Climate Emergency Resolution to transition Woodstock to net zero greenhouse gas emission by 2030; our Comprehensive Energy Plan goal to reduce total energy consumption per capital by 15% by 2025 and by more than one third by 2050; Ready for 100’s goal of a full transition of the electricity sector to clean, renewable energy; and the Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act of 2020, which Requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025.

Which EDC Working Grouop Objectives does your project best support?

Downtown Physical Rejuvenation (Improving facilities and public spaces in the downtown area)

Other Objectives

Project Collaborations

We are collaborating with the Woodstock Public Works Department to select the products desired, and to monitor feedback.

Additional Comments