Wellesley’s Department of Public Works is looking to convert four Wellesley parks into Green Zones as soon as this summer.
The Green Zone concept is promoted and certified by the American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA), which describes a Green Zone as “a defined area of land on which all routine maintenance is performed with battery electric equipment and/or manual tools.”
DPW Director David Cohen said during the Feb. 9 Board of Public Works meeting that the effort was inspired by workshops on electrifying residential and professional landscaping that were held last year and hosted by the DPWs in Wellesley and Lexington. He says the town’s Park & Tree Division is enthusiastic about the effort, which initially would target open space at Central Park near the Wellesley Square post office, Church Park in front of Village Church, the area near the Wellesley Police Department, and across the street at the Tolles Parsons Center. These are prominent parks in high traffic areas that would help to showcase the Green Zone approach.
The Wellesley DPW has set aside $30K (twice that before budget cuts) for landscaping and other equipment electrification, though one question is whether to use all those funds for equipment purchases, or if it makes more sense to spend a chunk on getting certified for Green Zone practices, which would give the town access to discounts on gear.
The Board of Public Works was supportive of the former approach if it doesn’t turn out that going the consulting route first would have an immediate payback.
“We already have [some] battery-powered trimmers, edgers and blowers. We’ll be looking to supplement this equipment in the coming months to make sure that we have enough (including batteries and chargers) to eliminate the need for gas-powered equipment at these sites,” Cohen wrote to us.
Benefits beyond the environmental ones from reducing carbon emissions include using equipment that vibrates less, which can be a health benefit to those operating equipment as well as passersby and nearby critters. The DPW has not yet completed calculations on carbon emissions reductions, but will work on that in coming months.
Sustainable Wellesley‘s Trish Glass said during the Board of Public Work meeting that the hope is that the town taking the lead on this effort will inspire residential landscapers to follow suit.
Natural Resources Commission Director Brandon Schmitt said targeting parks that have been or are being restored to native landscape plantings “provides a perfect synthesis to show how you maintain a landscape in the most ecologically sensitive way.”