Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

April 3, 2006

The Smells and Sounds of Spring

Category: Conservation,Garden,Save Fuel,Technology,Tips – Tom Harrison – 9:23 pm

Finally, spring has started to come and turn the gray, gray, gray of New England back to green. And with that comes the sounds and smells of spring.

By which I mean the whining and smoke from horribly inefficient leaf blowers and lawn mowers. And of course we also dump 50lb bags of fertilizer and pesticides on our lawns and gardens. Don’t forget to set those automatic sprinklers! When the work is done, it’s time to fire up the grill.

There are some real things you can do to reduce the energy used (and especially the harm to the environment) while still having a nice looking yard.

  1. Replace your gas mower with electric or reel mowers. Black and Decker, and some others make inexpensive corded models, and rechargeable cordless models that are competitive with gas mowers. Reel mowers are very inexpensive and are probably the best, but to be frank, they are a lot of work and don’t do a great job. Here’s a link to mowers you can order from
  2. You can kill weeds and have green grass without making Exxon even richer and spreading chemicals throughout the water table. Here’s a site that provides links to various reasonable organic gardening products.
  3. Here’s a really good one: mow less and don’t rake or bag grass clippings! Mowing grass with a sharp blade and to a height of 3-1/2″ to 4″ lets more grass do it’s plant photo-synthesis thing, requires less water, and provides a rich environment for earthworms to gobble up the grass clippings converting them back to nutrients. Here’s a great site on Organic Lawn Care.
  4. Less grass and more other beautiful flowers and trees! Here’s a site on Natural Landscaping.
  5. I’m not ready to give up the grill yet, but I suppose that a gas grill is better than charcoal, and you can do some unbelievably great meals with all veggies. Ok, so barbecued chicken is still pretty good, but slice up some organic zucchini, onions, peppers, broccoli and pretty much any veggies, add some oil and salt and pop them on the grill for a few minutes, and you’ll only need one piece of chicken.


  1. […] In a previous post I wrote about noise and especially bad energy efficiency of lawnmowers and other garden equipment, and suggested electric lawnmowers. I ordered one through Amazon and it was delivered (free!) in a few days. The grass is finally getting high enough here to mow, so I tried it out. It’s great! […]

    Pingback by Five Percent » Rechargeable Lawnmower: It’s Great! — May 6, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

  2. Conservation tip: power your lawnmower with milk and bananas…

    One of the lovable cranks who writes to TerraPass recently suggested that perhaps we should be paying him, because his thriving lawn is pulling so much carbon out of the air. We gently explained the difference between the natural carbon……

    Trackback by TerraBlog from TerraPass — May 15, 2006 @ 1:07 am

  3. TerraBlog — well, as long as his lawn is thriving on the compost he made from the leavings of his organic vegetables, it seems like a reasonable idea.

    There is the whole problem of making it profitable as a carbon offset program, but perhaps the good folks at Scott’s lawncare products would chip in a few $$. Or milk and banannas.

    Thanks for the comment. And thanks for the TerraPass — I feel better already. Sort of.


    Comment by Tom Harrison — May 15, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

  4. Reel mowers might be more work, but a liitle exercise for a good cause never hurt anyone!

    Comment by Natural Lawn Fertilizers — July 16, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

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