Global warming is no longer a topic of discussion which is a possibility in the future. It is a phenomenon that we are all experiencing in the form of climate change, increased number of hurricanes and typhoons, disturbances in wildlife etc. Unfortunately many renowned scientists have provided sufficient compelling evidence that global warming is induced by humans and a majority of it comes from emission of smoke, gas and other chemicals into the atmosphere. As cities, councils, large companies are realizing the adverse effects of this undesirable phenomenon, there is more awareness towards alternate solutions to solve our daily problems – Solutions that are eco friendly, green and have minimal to no impact on our contribution to the carbon foot print. Fortunately, our scientists believe that we may still have time and chance to turn things around, if we collectively work towards moving towards sustainable and green solutions.
Robotic lawn mowers could be one of the solutions that may contribute towards the goal of reducing or eliminating emissions caused by gas mowers. Currently, majority home owners and lawn care providers use gas powered mowers for their lawn mowing needs. EPA data has found that gas-powered lawn mowers make up 5% of total air pollution in the United States, amounting to even more in urban areas. To fuel this equipment, it takes about 800 million gallons of gasoline annually, with 17 million additional gallons spilled in the process. Two-stroke engines pose a unique environmental hazard because they do not have an independent lubricant system, so fuel and oil are mixed. Due to this, about 30 percent of the fuel does not combust completely, thus releasing toxic gases into the air. A 2014 study examined the VOC (combination of harmful gases) emissions of two stroke scooters, and it was found that the levels of emissions were 124 times higher from an idling scooter than from a car or truck [Source: Princeton].
With unregulated emissions from a lawn mower, increased usage can have a significant negative impact on our environment. But how does a robotic mower help towards the cause? To start with robotic lawn mowers do not run on gas. They are 100% electric and battery operated. This makes a robotic lawn mower to contribute 0% towards any kind of emission. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a new gas powered lawn mower produces volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emissions air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 new cars each being driven for one hour. So assuming that the average life of a robotic lawn mower is 10 years and approximately an average of 25 hours of mowing is required per year for a single home (using gas powered mowers), replacing it with a robotic lawn mower can save in 1 year emissions equivalent to 275 cars being driven in 1 hour, or 1 car being driven continuously for 11.5 days. So in 10 years that would be equivalent to 2750 cars being driven in 1 hour or 1 car being driven continuously for 115 days or ~4 months. If we multiply that with the number of homes within a community, it adds up significantly.
Fertilizers are used vastly by home owners and landscaping companies to improve the quality of their lawn. These nutrients are applied on the lawn in the form of chemical fertilizers and animal manure, which provide grass with the nitrogen and phosphorus necessary to grow and remain healthy. However, when nitrogen and phosphorus are not fully utilized by the growing grass, they can be lost from the lawns and negatively impact air and downstream water quality. This excess nitrogen and phosphorus can be washed from lawns and into waterways during rain events and when snow melts, and can also leach through the soil and into groundwater over time. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus can cause eutrophication of water bodies. Eutrophication can lead to hypoxia (“dead zones”), causing fish kills and a decrease in aquatic life. Excess nutrients can cause harmful algal blooms (HABs) in freshwater systems, which not only disrupt wildlife but can also produce toxins harmful to humans. Fertilized soils, as well as livestock operations, are also vulnerable to nutrient losses to the air. Nitrogen can be lost in the form of gaseous, nitrogen-based compounds, like ammonia and nitrogen oxides. Ammonia can be harmful to aquatic life if large amounts are deposited from the atmosphere to surface waters. Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas.[Source: EPA]
How does a robotic lawn mower help?
The concept of a robotic lawn mower is to mow the yard more frequently than traditional mowing methods. This way the mower is clipping just a tiny portion from the top of the grass, which make the clippings very small. These micro clippings decompose fast due to their size and are fed back into the soil as natural nitrogen fertilizers. This makes the lawn greener and healthier over time, hence reducing the need for use of chemical based fertilizers. Typically an optional fertilizer treatment once a year should suffice to maintain a lawn fresh and green, when mowed by a robotic lawn mower, compared to 3-4 treatments that are typically executed by lawn care companies.
WATER USAGE & NOISE LEVELS
Lawn experts say that the key to a healthy lawn is regular watering. Water is a precious resource and anyway we can save the usage of water, will only contribute towards a sustainable way of living. So when does grass need water the most,
- When the rate of water evaporation is much higher than rate at which the grass roots absorb water
- When the grass is stressed due to draught or physical damage
- When the soil is dry and hard.
A robotic lawn mower makes the grass roots stronger and deeper due to its constant mowing and natural fertilizing. This enables grass roots to absorb and retain water at a faster rate, hence helping towards lesser watering. Traditional mowers, tend to tear the grass (instead of cutting), especially if the blades are not sharp. This can stress the grass and hence require more water so that the grass can recover. A robotic lawn mower such as the Husqvarna Automower, uses razor sharp blades that cleanly cut the grass and minimize physical stress – This can contribute towards reduced watering requirements, saving water in the long run.
How often have you been annoyed by a loud lawn mower that is being used to mow your neighbors lawn? Traditional mowers are loud and contribute towards noise pollution. A robotic lawn mower such as Husqvarna Automower is so quiet that it can mow a yard in the night. A robotic lawn mower not only gives a green and healthy lawn, but it also keeps your neighbor happy.
In summary, robotic lawn mowers can play a significant role in the battery powered equipment category towards minimizing pollution and contributing towards a sustainable and green living. These amazing machines can not only help individual homes contribute towards a greener planet, but can also help commercial users such as cities, parks, zoos etc make an even larger impact.
For more information on Automowers for commercial or residential use please reach us out at www.smart-dots.com