Caring for the environment  |  7 Jan 2019

The roar of a chainsaw and drone of a leaf blower could soon be a thing of the past as Christchurch City Council Park Rangers make the switch to battery electric power tools.

The Council has bought 23 of the new, quieter tools as part of a move away from petrol-operated tools towards zero exhaust emission options.

Tina West, Matt Rodgers, Michael Quartly and Fiona Fenton test the power tools.

Rangers Tina Weston, Matt Rodgers, Michael Quartly and Fiona Fenton test out some of the new battery electric power tools.

The new kit includes leaf blowers, lawn mowers, line trimmers, hedge trimmers and chainsaws and will be used in central city parks and regional parks around Christchurch.

Council Resource Efficiency Manager Kevin Crutchley says it is a step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the Council’s park maintenance activities.

“These commercial tools are excellent performers, they’re very powerful and there are so many environmental and health and safety advantages that come with switching to battery electric tools.”

He says there will be ongoing savings associated with not using petrol as well as the health and safety benefits. The e-tools can be carried safely in vehicles, they are less polluting and there is less danger of staff damaging their hearing.

The change is part of the Council’s Resource Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emission (REGGE) Policy and Programme.

Council Manager of Regional Parks Kay Holder says the initial reaction from staff has been positive. “Appreciation has been expressed for the reduced noise, no fumes, weight advantages and less issues around fuel mixing and storage. There’s also been a recognition that some adaptation of traditional work practices is required, such as ensuring batteries are adequately charged before heading to the work site.”

She says some petrol-powered tools will be retained for the foreseeable future to maintain operational capability where there currently isn’t an available battery electric solution.

Other planned initiatives include the purchase of two battery electric off-road/on-road motorbikes designed in New Zealand by Ubco for Parks staff to use within the parks instead of fossil-fuelled quad bikes. The bikes can also recharge tools in the field.

A battery electric van is also on the way and due to arrive early next year.