The Burlington Electric Department (BED) launched a new electric lawn mower (E-mower) rebate campaign, called Mow Electric, which will help the Burlington community fight climate change and provide BED customers with the opportunity to save money with a $100 rebate on residential E-mowers and a $3,500 rebate on commercial-grade E-mowers. BED is the first utility in Vermont to offer residential E-mower rebates and the utility offering the largest commercial E-mower rebates in the state. The potential environmental benefits of mowing electric are significant, with one study suggesting that the pollution caused by one hour of operating a gas-powered lawn mower is equivalent to driving one car for 160 miles. Mow Electric program details and the rebate form may be found by visiting www.burlingtonelectric.com/lawnmowers.
"We must tackle our growing greenhouse gas emissions in creative and vigorous ways through strategic electrification, both large and small, wherever possible," said Mayor Miro Weinberger. "Burlington Electric's new Mow Electric campaign presents yet another opportunity for our community to replace fossil fuels with renewably sourced electricity. Once again, BED is showing the country how an innovative, 21st century utility can lead the way on decarbonizing our communities."
"Burlington Electric Department is proud to launch Mow Electric, our new electric lawn mower incentive program to help our community reduce fossil fuel use and air pollution," said Darren Springer, BED General Manager. "Mowing electric saves money on fuel costs and contributes to cleaner air for all Burlingtonians. As summer approaches, we look forward to helping our customers make the switch to an electric mower."
All BED customers are eligible for Mow Electric E-mower rebates for purchases made in Vermont on or after May 13, 2019 through December 31, 2019. BED's residential E-mower rebate is the lesser of $100 or 50 percent of the purchase price and is valid on purchases of new, corded or cordless E-mowers. The commercial-grade E-mower rebate of $3,500 is available for qualified Mean Green Mowers that are charged in BED territory.
In addition to the rebate savings, BED customers who switch from residential gasoline or diesel mowers to an E-mower generally will save money over the life of their mowers based on lower costs for fuel (electricity vs. gas/diesel), maintenance, and repairs. One analysis that compared a gasoline mower to both corded and cordless E-mowers found that "you will save a significant amount on gasoline and routine maintenance each year. There is a periodic cost to replace batteries as they wear out for cordless models, but the savings on gasoline and engine maintenance outweighs this expense over the life of the mower."
Finally, this incentive program makes good business sense. By using BED's 100 percent renewable electricity instead of gasoline, E-mower customers are providing an economic benefit for all of our ratepayers.
Gas and diesel lawn mowers do not have strong emissions controls and are recognized widely as a major source of smog-forming air pollution. While many different studies have been written, a common comparison is between the amount of harmful environmental pollutants caused by one hour of operating a new, gas-powered lawn mower and the pollutants caused when operating an automobile. In addition to the study that makes the one hour mowing equals 160 miles car driving comparison, another study suggests that one hour of operating a gas-powered lawn mower produces harmful environmental pollutants equivalent to those created by 11 new cars being driven for one hour. Therefore, mowing electric reduces fossil fuel emissions and reduces air pollution. In Burlington, E-mowers are powered with 100 percent renewable electricity. Further, E-mowers generally are quieter than conventional mowers during operation.
GM Springer yesterday visited City Hardware, the downtown's new hardware store on College Street, to view its E-mower display and to meet with store owner, Gordon Winters. City Hardware carries two models of residential EGO brand E-mowers with prices of $399 and $499. With $100 BED rebates, purchasers will save either 20 or 25 percent. To further encourage customers to mow electric, both City Hardware and Bibens Ace Hardware, with locations in Burlington's New North End and the surrounding markets of Colchester, South Burlington, and Essex, will award $50 store gift cards to any customers purchasing E-mowers on or after May 13, 2019 and until Father's Day on June 16, 2019. City Hardware invites any members of the Burlington and surrounding communities to join their team for the store's grand-opening weekend, running from June 7 to 9, 2019. Bibens Ace carries EGO, Stihl, and Black+Decker brand E-mowers.
"We recognize and appreciate that the Burlington community is passionate about reducing greenhouse gas emissions to protect our planet; that's why we're stocking and displaying electric lawn mowers," stated City Hardware's Winters. "We're glad to be sweetening BED's Mow Electric opportunity by offering a $50 City Hardware gift card and hope the extra incentive, on top of the BED rebate, encourages Burlingtonians to join the E-mower crowd."
In addition to residential customers, BED is encouraging its commercial customers to mow electric. To lead by example, BED has ordered a Mean Green Mower from Charlotte-based Eco-Equipment Supply and will take delivery of its new riding mower in the coming weeks. This new, commercial-grade mower will complement BED's recently-acquired Kobalt-brand electric push mower.
"We're encouraging Burlingtonians and Vermonters to 'kick the can' and switch to electric, commercial-grade mowers," said Steven Wisbaum, owner of Eco-Equipment Supply, who handles northeast sales for Mean Green Mowers. "Moving away from traditional commercial gas and diesel mowers will help decrease fossil fuel use by anywhere between five to 50 gallons per year."
In addition to the $3,500 rebate available to BED customers who purchase a commercial-grade E-mower, an additional $300 rebate will be provided by Mean Green Mowers.
Additional "Tier 3" Initiatives
BED has created a number of other programs as part of its efforts to offer innovative initiatives under Vermont's Renewable Energy Standard "Tier 3" program. Examples of BED's initiatives to advance new technologies beyond E-mowers include electric vehicle rebates, partnering with local bike shops on electric bike (E-bike) rebates, creating an E-bike test ride lending library, offering cold-climate heat pump incentives for oil and propane customers, and collaborating with Green Mountain Transit on deploying electric buses.
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