Winter is a season of beauty, but for those in the commercial landscaping industry, it also brings challenges. Especially, when it comes to snow management. Clearing snow from parking lots, sidewalks, and other areas is a necessary safety measure. However, traditional snow removal methods can have a significant impact on the environment. With climate change becoming an increasingly pressing issue, it’s important for businesses to prioritize sustainable snow removal practices. This article will explore some of the best sustainable snow removal options for commercial landscaping companies to consider this winter.
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Go eco-friendly with snow management
There are several benefits to going eco-friendly while performing snow removal practices. Here are some of them:
Reduced environmental impact
Traditional snow management methods often involve the use of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. By using eco-friendly alternatives, such as using sand, shoveling, or using electric snow blowers, you can reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that are introduced into the environment.
Improved air quality
The use of snow blowers and plows can create significant air pollution. Officials in Utah concluded that refineries and snowblowers have the same level of emissions. By using electric snow blowers or shoveling instead, you can reduce the air pollution created during snow removal.
Reduced risk of water contamination
Using rock salt and other chemicals can also contaminate water sources, posing a risk to human health and the environment. By using eco-friendly alternatives, you can reduce the risk of water contamination.
Eco-friendly snow management methods can be more cost-effective in the long run. For example, using electric snow blowers can be less expensive than using gas-powered ones, as there is no need to purchase fuel.
Traditional snow removal methods can create slippery conditions, making it dangerous for people and vehicles. Annually, more than 1,300 fatalities and over 116,800 injuries result from vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement. 24 percent of weather-related crashes occur on such surfaces, and 15 percent of crashes happen during snowfall or sleet. Eco-friendly methods such as using sand can improve traction and reduce the risk of accidents.
Invest in eco-friendly equipment
Eco-friendly snow equipment typically use alternative fuels, such as electric or biofuels, and features energy-efficient technologies to minimize carbon emissions and resource consumption. For instance, Snow-melting equipment can be used to reduce the need for plowing and shoveling. And to be precise electric snow blowers should be used instead of conventional gasoline-powered ones.
These snow blowers have a considerable impact on emissions as the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) estimates that operating a typical 4-stroke gasoline snow blower for an hour produces an amount of pollution equivalent to driving a car for 339 miles.
These electric-powered equipment use radiant heat to melt snow, which is then collected and drained. This reduces the amount of snow you need to transport and dispose of, saving time and reducing the environmental impact. Electric snowplows are becoming increasingly popular because they produce no emissions and are quieter than gas-powered models.
In addition, maintaining equipment properly, such as keeping tires inflated and using blades in good condition, can reduce fuel consumption and minimize pollution.
Prioritize manual removal
Manual snow removal methods such as shoveling or using a snow blower can be more sustainable than using heavy equipment. These methods use less energy and reduce the impact on the environment. Additionally, manual removal can be more precise, reducing the risk of damage to landscaping features.
Reducing the amount of snow removed from a property is also a sustainable practice. We would also recommend that snow should be removed only from areas where it poses a safety hazard, such as driveways, walkways, and entrances. Leaving snow on landscaped areas and gardens can help to insulate and protect plants from the cold and provide a natural source of water as it melts.
Consider the impact on wildlife
When choosing snow management practices, it is essential to consider the impact on wildlife. Avoid using methods that could harm or disturb wildlife in the area, such as plowing snow onto habitats or using loud equipment.
Besides, the chemicals used in conventional snow removal methods can be harmful to wildlife if they leach into nearby water sources or if animals ingest them directly. Eco-friendly snow removal methods that minimize or eliminate the use of these chemicals can help protect wildlife.
When snow is removed from roads and other developed areas, it can disrupt wildlife habitat and migration patterns. By minimizing the amount of snow removed or by focusing on selective removal in key areas, eco-friendly snow removal methods can help preserve important wildlife habitats.
Planning ahead for snow removal can help reduce the need for excessive use of heavy equipment and help you protect the environment. By monitoring weather forecasts and taking preventive measures, such as applying de-icing agents before a storm, you can reduce the amount of snow that needs to be removed. Here are some steps you can take:
Plan for snow storage
Plan ahead for where to store the snow that is removed. Avoid storing it near sensitive areas like waterways or wetlands, and consider using snow-melting equipment or designated areas for snow storage. Here’s how you can improve your snow removal process while maintaining sustainability.
Keep walkways clear
Clearing walkways and entrances is important for safety, but also for reducing the amount of salt and other de-icing products that are needed. Keep walkways clear and use non-toxic de-icing products to reduce environmental impact.
Make sure that staff is properly trained on eco-friendly snow removal practices. Encourage them to prioritize environmental stewardship when working in commercial landscaping.
Choosing sustainable snow removal practices in the commercial landscaping industry is crucial for reducing the negative impact on the environment while maintaining safe and accessible outdoor spaces. By implementing sustainable practices, businesses can significantly decrease their carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet. It is essential for the industry to prioritize sustainability and take proactive measures to protect the environment. Adopting sustainable snow removal practices is a step in the right direction. Let us work together towards a more sustainable future for our planet.
What are the hazards of snow removal?
Snow removal hazards include slip-and-fall accidents, back and muscle strains from shoveling or operating heavy equipment, exposure to cold temperatures leading to hypothermia or frostbite, traffic accidents during plowing operations, and the risk of falling objects or collapsing structures due to excessive snow accumulation.
Is snow blowing safer than shoveling?
Snow blowing can be safer than shoveling since it reduces physical strain and minimizes the risk of heart attacks or back injuries. However, caution must still be exercised to prevent accidents, such as keeping hands and feet away from moving parts and being mindful of slippery surfaces.
What are the most common snow shoveling injuries?
The most common snow shoveling injuries include lower back strains, muscle sprains, slipped discs, fractures from falls, and heart attacks due to exertion. It’s crucial to use proper lifting techniques, take frequent breaks, warm up beforehand, wear appropriate clothing, and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.