Visalia man switches to battery-operated lawn equipment to reduce costs and noise

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The California Air Resources Board has intensified its push to reduce emissions from gas-powered equipment like leaf blowers, chainsaws and lawnmowers.

By the year 2031, it hopes to see an 80% decrease in emissions through regulations and incentives but the board eventually wants to see a statewide ban.

"The ultimate goal is really to drive this sector to zero emissions, to convert it primarily battery-operated equipment to both protect the health of the operators of the equipment as well as all Californians," says Dorothy Fibiger, an Air Resources Engineer.

Robert Womack of Womack's Affordable Lawncare in Visalia made the switch from gasoline to battery-operated equipment six months ago. Womack uses solar panels to keep all of his batteries charged between jobs.

He estimates he'll save $2,000 a year in filters, fuel and repairs, but neighbors also like the change.

"The equipment is so much quieter," Womack said. "It's like 50% quieter than its gas counterpart. I understand part of the reason the state is pushing it is not so much the emissions. I mean, I'm sure that's part of it, but the other part is the noise problem."

Noise is a big reason why several cities in California have either banned or at least limit when leaf blowers can be used.

Womack said his new battery-operated equipment cost $5,000, but rebates through the Valley Air Pollution Control District left him with a total purchase price of $850.
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