Skyline Landscape Services is a family-owned, end-to-end horticulture and landscape management company. They have tracked the development and implementation of electric and battery powered equipment internationally for years and now witness first-hand the rise and rise of electric, battery-powered maintenance equipment, machines and vehicles in Australia.
As an early adopter of electric equipment, their workers were armed with heavy battery backpacks while they trimmed hedges, blew leaves and whipper snipped edges. Since then, Skyline has been part of trialing new technologies and with the improvements to battery powered equipment can now cement their green credentials.
“We made a continuous improvement commitment to reducing emissions and improving recycling and our overall sustainability,” says Aaron Curtin, Skyline’s NSW State Manager. “We recycle all our green waste into products such as soils, mulch and compost. Sustainability is a big part of what we want to do and what we do.”
Skyline’s Marketing Manager, Chris Carter, agrees. “We aim to serve the community in a range of ways, including helping to reach environmental goals”.
Sustainability is not something Skyline pays lip service too. As part of their continuous improvement commitment, they are looking for innovative ways to be even more sustainable.
“We looked at what we could do to be more sustainable. To start with, we purchased hybrid vehicles. In some places, instead of driving a ute, we switched to electric bikes for site inspections. And of course, much of our hand-equipment is battery operated,” says Aaron.
Government tenders for landscape and maintenance services often ask service providers whether the work will be done using electric equipment, including machines and vehicles. Skyline is happy they can tick that box.
Aaron and Chris agree many want to see battery-powered mowers these days. But cost is preventing some organisations, like body corporates, from choosing the greener option.
“Everyone wants electric! We’re hopeful, as it becomes more common and the technology more available, the costs of electric, battery-powered devices will come down soon, making it more affordable for everyone,” says Aaron. “Once this happens we can help out all our customers”.
Many governments of all levels in Australia are moving early to accept the cost of zero emissions maintenance services. “You can see the government contracts are making the change first,” says Aaron. “For Government clients, it’s all about zero emissions and meeting net-zero targets.”
Aaron likens the switch from diesel-powered ride-on mowers to electric mowers to the switch from petrol-powered hand-held equipment to battery powered that happened within the industry.
“For several years, there was a big emphasis on battery equipment to replace handheld equipment. And now we’re starting to see more interest in battery-powered machines. Our team is pretty much using mowers for 8 hours a day, so they need a reliable run time. People are starting to ask if we have battery-powered ride-ons.”
In terms of electric uptake for outdoor maintenance, Chris and Aaron agree that New Zealand is ahead of Australia. That’s why they turned to their network in New Zealand to find the right machine for them.
“We started looking at different electric mower companies. A company we collaborate with in New Zealand, they recommended EcoTeq and another brand. We compared the two. EcoTeq had the longer run time and better battery life, so we chose the Rival mower,” says Aaron.
Having an electric mower means no emissions, no loud noise. They are already finding the novelty of an electric mower also sparks the public’s interest and reflects well on Skyline and Council.
Skyline is also working with an external organisation to build on their sustainability portfolio by helping to develop 3 hectares of forest in Victoria. For Christmas last year, instead of giving gifts to their clients, a large amount of carbon was offset.
When looking at the Rival mower, Skyline investigated the cost of running and the ongoing maintenance, as well as the overall life expectancy. They could definitely see the upfront expense was worth it in the long term. And it would save them precious time.
“So far so good. The Rival rivals the diesel-powered mowers”, says Aaron.
Feedback from their operators say that it’s quick off the mark and makes hardly any noise, which takes some getting used to!
Skyline’s plan is to add more electric mowers to their fleet, especially as their prices continue to fall. They look forward to helping more government organisations and businesses reach their net-zero targets.
Learn more about the Mean Green 100% electric Rival mower.
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