On a beautiful spring day at NC State’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design, the buzz of weed trimmers, leaf blowers and lawn mowers is electric ‒ literally.
NC State Grounds Services, which maintains the campus grounds, is piloting a new program that incorporates sustainability. Instead of gas-powered equipment, they use battery-powered equipment. Instead of synthetic fertilizers, they opt for compost. Instead of chemical weed control, they choose natural alternatives like horticultural vinegar.
“It’s our way of promoting sustainability on campus and improving our sustainability efforts as a department for NC State,” said Jeff Del Pinal, who manages Grounds Services.
The department has incorporated sustainable practices for years, but this pilot project at the Gregg Museum is the first campus location where the department has intentionally deployed all its sustainable options.
“The Gregg for us was an ideal location,” Del Pinal said. “It’s a new landscape, and we’re using it to see how this program works, what areas we need to improve and then expand this out to other areas of campus.”
Sustainable landscaping practices have numerous environmental benefits. For example, electric equipment isn’t as loud as gas-powered equipment and contributes to cleaner air. Natural weed control and fertilizers promote healthy plant growth while having less impact on waterways.
“Ground Services is making a strong effort to do the best work possible, to be as safe, and as diligent and good stewards of the environment. This is just one way for us to accomplish that,” Del Pinal said.