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Sustainable Practices

By Eric Grammer, Communications Manager, Professional Grounds Management Society

With an eye on the future, many grounds management operations are turning to cleaner technology such as propane-fueled lawn mowers. Here Michael Ashey of University of Texas at Austin cuts grass with a new propane-powered mower that the university bought this past April.

With the focus of this issue on mowers and the investment facilities make in them, I thought it appropriate to examine how the grounds management profession can act as stewards for future generations. Let me start by asking a simple question. What are you doing?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that landscape maintenance equipment is responsible for up to 10 percent of the air pollution in the United States, emitting high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. To put this in perspective, a conventional lawn mower pollutes as much in an hour as 40 late model cars. So what are you doing?

This is what Dwayne D'Ardenne, CGM and the City of Roanoke's (Va.) Transportation Division did. When it came time to replace several mowers in their fleet, they showed the foresight to purchase mowers fueled by propane, an energy source that has been approved by the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a clean alternative fuel. In all, choosing propane mowers over traditional gas mowers results in an 80% reduction in carbon emissions.

What's more, this technology also helps future generations by reducing demand on foreign sources of energy - 90% of propane is produced in the United States. So what are you doing in regards to researching or utilizing this technology?

While standards exist for sustainable structures--"green buildings"--there are no standards to guide those who want to create sustainable landscapes as there are for green buildings. Sustainable practices, native plants and water-conserving landscapes reduce the use of scarce water and energy resources. So what are you doing?

Duke University's Joe Jackson, CGM is leading the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and the grounds management profession by representing them on the Sustainable Sites Initiative – an interdisciplinary partnership consisting of a diverse group of stakeholder organizations to develop guidelines and standards for landscape sustainability. What are you doing to develop practices and procedures that will help preserve natural resources for future generations?

Let's take a look for a moment at the future of the grounds management profession itself. PGMS and Landscape Superintendent & Maintenance Professional (LSMP) magazine are partnering to explore and uncover the current status of the profession, including salary data. So what can you do to help give us a better glimpse of the current standing of the grounds management profession?

Participate in the 2008 PGMS/LSMP Salary Survey by visiting LSMP online at

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November 19, 2019, 10:59 pm PDT

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