One of our favorite COLLECTIVE clients [and a spectacular local altogether], Mike Hornung, is back at it. Spring done sprung, and he's on a bit of a quest to make SLC beautiful one space at a time. We've touched on his talents before when we chatted with him about his design company, Future Form. This time, however, he's got solar power on his side. Mike's still busy designing like magic, but he's started a new venture that's sure to entice the eco-savvy and time-constrained citizens of our city. Wasatch Eco-Mow is a landscaping company that's equal to the task of whipping your yard into shape without giving the environment [and our air] an additional punch to the gut. Mike has whipped up a mobile solar station to power up his eco-friendly lawn and yard care equipment, and for our part, we think this is a phenomenal step in the right direction. In fact, should you decide to read up on the issue, you'll find that standard, gas-powered equipment is far more polluting that you probably thought. Read below for the facts on this conscious gig...then switch to Eco-Mow.
Give me your take on our air, and talk about how it was [or wasn't] the catalyst for starting Wasatch Eco-Mow: Well, air quality has been an ongoing issue for the Salt Lake valley (really, northern Utah) for a while now. Most residents know that during the winter months we often have the worst air quality in the nation. In the summer months it usually gets forgotten about, but it still remains a problem. On hot days emissions from gasoline and other fossil fuels mixes with oxygen to produce low-level ozone. Ozone has the same negative health affects to our respiratory system as smog does. As I was researching starting a landscape company, I was surprised to learn how polluting traditional gas-powered equipment is and thought with all of our air quality issues, there’s got to be a better way. That’s when I started experimenting with alternative ways to power our equipment.
We've featured your Future Form [a free-form concrete business that whipped up some beautiful fire pits for us, among other things] work in the past. Talk about your transition to Eco-Mow: I really enjoy designing and fabricating functional elements out of concrete wood and steel for landscapes, but when I started to look at the bigger picture, I realized that I wanted to expand and become more of a full-blown landscaping company. For me it made sense to start building that clientele by doing service work.
What does Eco-Mow do? Are you a full-service, year-round outfit? 2014 is only our second year in business, so for now we are focused on lawn maintenance which includes mowing, fertilizing, aerating, clean-ups, mulch, etc. As we progress, I hope that we can branch out into landscape design and installations also.
Are you a straight line or diagonal lawn guy? Or are you about that sweet pattern? What is that...gingham? Haha! I have a customer that wants me to do crop circles in her front yard, but I told her it takes too long. Straight or diagonal is easy, you pick.
How are you able to be 'eco-friendly' with lawn mowers and weed eaters and leaf blowers and such? Most people don’t realize how polluting traditional gas-powered lawn equipment is. Those engines aren’t regulated the same way that our cars are with strict emissions standards. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a new gas-powered lawn mower produces as much volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emissions air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 new cars each being driven for one hour. We’re the first in SLC to wean off of gasoline-powered equipment. We operate with electric mowers and gas mowers that we’ve converted to run on cleaner burning propane, and our trimmers and blowers run on rechargeable batteries. Our service trailer even has a solar charging system so we can re-charge batteries throughout the day if needed. This combination provides a drastic reduction in our emissions output. Another added advantage to the electric equipment is that it is much quieter. Everyone has been woken up early on a weekend morning or during an afternoon nap by the loud buzzing noise of a gas-powered trimmer or blower. We prefer to not be that company...our electric equipment helps.
I feel as though this should be a big selling point for you -- the fact that your business is addressing our serious air-quality issues. Are your SLC clients taking notice of the conscious aspect of what you're doing? Frankly, some of my client’s eyes glaze over when I start to talk about EPA studies on air quality. I understand that they just want their yard maintained in a reliable and affordable way, and I’m glad that I can provide that. But I also have die-hard clientele that is concerned about our air quality and are glad that they found someone like me that can do things in a more environmentally-friendly way.
What are some other ways in which we can be a touch more cognizant of SLC's blanket of smog in our yard-care efforts? I would urge any homeowner that maintains their own lawn to consider purchasing battery-operated equipment. It’s easy to use, better for the environment, and it gives manufacturers more incentive to pour funding into research and development of this equipment. Even if you have a large yard, you can buy extra batteries so you never run out of power.
Wasatch Eco-Mow | 801.550.4347