gas-powered leaf blowers

Opinion: Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Should Be Banned

  January 17, 2022

By Greg Zimmerman

There’s an old joke about how facility managers are like offensive linemen: The only time you hear about them is when they screw up. That’s increasingly less true these days, as most facility managers worth their salt — and just as importantly, their staffs — are prominent and visible contributors to an organization’s missions, values, and bottom line. 

As facility managers become an increasingly vital member of their organization, and have more pull, sway, and clout both with top management and with occupants, it becomes more important that they not do anything to anything to be a distraction or negatively affect their organization’s mission, whether that’s students learning, workers being productive, or people healing.  

Therefore, facility managers should immediately discontinue use of gas-powered leaf blowers. And not just that, but gas-powered leaf blowers should be permanently banned. They’re loud, they’re a nuisance, they smell, and they are detrimental to air quality. Some maintenance and grounds departments or outsourcing providers tend to over-rely on them, as well, using them for only small jobs, when a broom and a little elbow grease could’ve accomplished the same task in the same or less time, and with less aggravation to building occupants, visitors, and neighbors. 

I wrote about this a few years ago — essentially that gas-powered leaf blowers ARE effectively banned in many locales. As many as 60 cities in California have banned them. On January 1, 2022, a new ban went into effect in Washington D.C. And it’s not difficult to find dozens of other examples of legislation banning these nuisances. 

But the bans aren’t enforced. They should be. It’s not just me that feels this way. As the San Diego Union Tribune argues, gas-powered leaf blowers are a menace to public health, contribute to climate change, increase noise pollution, and have several other detrimental effects.  

So if you’re still using gas-powered leaf blowers, or you’ve contracted with a company that does, maybe 2022 is a good time to make a resolution to make a change.  

Greg Zimmerman is editor, Building Operating Management magazine and FacilitiesNet.com


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