Environmental Initiative helps local lawn care business go electric

Greg Kroth, Parkway Lawn Service and Dwyane Waltower, Hiawatha Academies standing on a soccer field next to a commercial electric lawnmower. Greg is wearing sunglasses, a gray shirt, and gray pants. Dwyane is wearing a black and purple jacket and blue jeans.

Minneapolis, Minn. – The familiar roar of lawnmowers has been replaced by a quiet buzz at Parkway Lawn Service this summer. The 40-year-old lawn care business recently replaced multiple gas-powered mowers and other lawn equipment with electric models thanks to grants from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the City of Minneapolis. Environmental Initiative helped connect Parkway Lawn Service to the grant programs and assisted with the applications.

Equipment purchased

Grant funds helped Parkway Lawn Service purchase:

  • Two battery-powered mowers.
  • Eight pieces of battery-powered handheld equipment including weed whips and leaf blowers.
  • Portable large-capacity battery for charging equipment in the field.

The shift will reduce more than 2,400 pounds of fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compound emissions annually.

“Our crews really like the new equipment. There is less noise, less vibration, and less heat,” said Greg Kroth, owner of Parkway Lawn Service. “Charging the equipment is quick and easy. Most batteries can be recharged in about eight minutes, which can be done in between jobs.”

Kroth also shared the time and fuel-saving benefits. He estimates that larger equipment, like gas-powered mowers can use at least 100 gallons of fuel a week. Crews don’t have to stop to refuel because they can charge on the go.

Improving the environment

Gas-powered lawn equipment is a major source of air pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a new gas-powered push lawnmower produces as many volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides in one hour of operation as 11 cars driven for the same amount of time. The transition to electric equipment by Parkway Lawn Service demonstrates a commitment to reducing this environmental impact and improving community health.

Make a commitment

The City of Minneapolis hopes other local landscaping businesses consider making the switch. The City’s Green Cost Share Program helps businesses pay for upgrades that save energy, reduce air pollution, and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

“We’re working to make it easier for businesses to access our programs,” said Deputy Commissioner Patrick Hanlon, Minneapolis Health Department Sustainability, Healthy Homes and Environment division. “Partnerships with organizations like Environmental Initiative can make a big difference in raising awareness of funding opportunities and helping businesses navigate the process.”

Helping businesses

Environmental Initiative is prepared to help other businesses, like Parkway Lawn Service, through existing and emerging programs.

“Business owners are busy. Our organization can step in, establish trust, build relationships, and help leaders like Greg to navigate the grant application process,” said Eben Kowler, partnership manager at Environmental Initiative.

The next round of City of Minneapolis Green Cost Share grant applications will be reviewed in August.

About Environmental Initiative
Environmental Initiative is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that catalyzes collaboration across perspectives, power, and systems for social equity and environmental health.

About Parkway Lawn Service
Parkway Lawn Service is a family owned and operated lawn care and snow removal business serving Minneapolis, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Richfield, and St. Louis Park.

About the City of Minneapolis Green Cost Share Program
The Green Cost Share Program helps businesses pay for upgrades that save energy, reduce air pollution, and cut carbon dioxide emissions.


Pictured: Greg Kroth, owner of Parkway Lawn Service (left) and Dwyane Waltower, Athletics Director at Hiawatha Academies (right) stand with one of the new electric mowers at Hiawatha Collegiate High School in Minneapolis.