ORCUTT, Calif. – With state restrictions for gas-powered landscaping equipment set to take effect in less than three months, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) held a demonstration on Tuesday to promote the switch to electrical machinery.
"Today is a great day for landscapers to come try electric-powered landscaping equipment," said Lyz Bantilan, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District public information officer. "We have eight different manufacturers here, and commercial users of landscaping equipment can come and try this electric equipment for free, see how they like and see how powerful it is."
The three-hour event took place at the Orcutt Babe Ruth fields and was co-hosted with Oak Knolls Hardware to support the third year of APCD’s Landscape Equipment Electrification Fund (LEEF) program.
The LEEF program is available for eligible entities to provide them with a financial incentive to trade in gasoline landscape equipment and purchase electric-powered equipment.
"The Air Pollution Control District has a program open right now where commercial grade users of landscaping equipment can apply for incentive funds, so they trade-in their gasoline-powered equipment and use these incentive funds to purchase new electric-powered landscaping equipment," said Bantilan. "Our incentive program is available for non-profits, businesses, schools, public agencies, and any entities that does their own landscaping in-house."
Beginning next year, a state regulation will restrict the manufacturing of new gasoline
landscape equipment, such as movers, chainsaws, trimmers, edgers, leaf blowers, vacuums, and other small tools.
"The state regulation is designed to improve our air quality," said Bantilan. "The gasoline-powered landscaping equipment is highly polluting. It can pollute just as much as a car driving hundreds, if not a thousand-plus of miles, so the goal of this is to improve our air quality, and a study found that his regulation can remove up to 72 tons of smog-forming pollution a day."
After Jan. 1, 2024, the use of gasoline-powered equipment will still be allowed in California, and consumers will also be able to purchase new gas-powered tools that already remains on store shelves.
"The gasoline-powered equipment will still be available for purchase if its still on store shelves and anyone who has existing equipment can still use it, but again, the manufacturing of it will no longer be allowed starting in January," said Bantilan.
Those who attended the event were able to see how the new electric equipment works with hands-on demonstrations from manufacturer representatives, as well as personally test the tools themselves.
"It was electrifying," said landscaper Willie Hicks, after test driving a ride-on Mean Green riding lawn mower. "It was very smooth and I like the feel of it. It's different. It's quiet. It's just unique. Very unique and I like things like that. The ride was smooth and the cutting of the grass, you can't even hear it. Cutting the grass is real smooth. You don't feel nothing and my other lawn mower, I can feel it cutting the grass, but this one right here is so smooth and laid back cause it's electric."
Organizations and businesses that are eligible for the LEEF program incentive can receive incentives up to the following for each trade-in:
- $700 for chainsaws, trimmers, edgers, and brushcutters
- $1,400 for leaf blowers and vacuum
- $1,500 for walk-behind lawn mowers
- $15,000 for ride-on and stand/sit mowers
Funds for the LEEF program are available through Nov. 3, 2023.
For more information about the LEEF incentive program, click here.