Saturday, August 10, 2013


Today marks our 50th day of Zero Emissions maintenance at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.  What a great feeling that is to say.  Except for the fuel used in our backpack blowers ALL golf course maintenance activities are carried out using battery powered electric equipment which produce ZERO point source carbon emissions, use ZERO drops of gasoline, produce ZERO gallons of used motor and/or hydraulic oil, and produce nearly ZERO noise pollution. 

In March of this year we replaced the vast majority of our gasoline powered golf course maintenance equipment with battery powered electric models.  Through the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant funded by the Tennessee Valley Authority through the Office of Sustainable Practices of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation we purchased three Jacobsen Eclipse 322 triplex greensmowers, four Jacobsen Eclipse 322 triplex tee and approach mowers, two Tru-Turf R52 greens rollers, two Smithco Super Star bunker rakes, five Toro Workman MDEs and two Club Car Carry All Turf IIs.  These units make up the bulk of our golf course maintenance fleet and on days like today are the only units used on the golf course. 

When we began looking into the possibility of converting our gasoline powered equipment to electric many questions and concerns came up.  How much fuel usage
can we eliminate?  How much CO2 emissions can we eliminate?  How much will our electricity bill go up?  Can a battery powered mower really cut as well as a gasoline powered mower and can it make it around the golf course without loosing power?  All of these questions were very good ones and we did our best to research the correct answer.  The biggest question though was would the electric equipment perform as we needed it to and would it truly benefit the golf course and the environment.

After five months of using the electric equipment I can say without hesitation that using electric equipment on a golf course is a very, very viable option to gasoline powered equipment.  The equipment has performed well beyond our expectations and to answer a few of the questions above, in the first four months of operation when compared to usage during the same months in 2012 we have eliminated the use of 700.2 gallons of gasoline and eliminated the production of 14,004 point source pounds of CO2.  Our fuel savings for this time frame has been $2,332.73 while our electricity costs are only $1,175.31.  While we have not been able to eliminate all use of gasoline or CO2 emissions on the golf course this is a great start.

The equipment has been a huge hit with the golf course maintenance staff and the golfers.  The quietness of the equipment allows us to carry out our maintenance practices without disturbing the golfers as much as we have in the past with our loud gasoline engine powered units.  We have had many golfers comment about how nice it is not to have to hear the equipment and we get some really strange, but great, looks when we go by them and all you can hear is the sound of the tires on the asphalt.

But the ones who really benefit from the elimination of carbon emissions, the reduction in noise pollution, and the elimination of a possible fuel or oil spill are the ones who call the golf course home.  We don't disturb the wildlife as we travel around the golf course anymore and many times the deer don't even move when we drive by.  At Harrison Bay we know that the golf course is their home and we are only visiting, so if they are happy, then I am happy.

Our Electric Equipment Initiative is just beginning and we hope that others will consider the benefits and the rewards of using alternative energy sources to operate their golf course equipment in the future. 

On to the next 50 days!!!

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