Gas-powered garden tools

While we continue to explore ways to meet our sustainability goals across all areas of the university, there are several reasons why the university relies, for the time being, on the use of gas-powered garden tools. However, we strive to limit the use of gas-powered machinery around scheduled exams and next to vents or other areas that may cause excessive disruption to students, faculty, and residents.

Recognizing the importance of sustainable approaches to operational work, Building Operations continues to alter its practices to meet the University’s sustainability goals including through increased use of electric vehicles, sharing of vehicles, reduced idling, reduced chemical use, rain sensors to reduce unnecessary irrigation, we continue to explore additional ways to improve the environmental and human well-being on campus.

Overall, UBC reduced its GHG emissions 30 per cent relative to 2007 levels, largely thanks to our steam to hot water conversion project, building tune-ups, and use of biomass for energy generation at the Bio-energy Research and Demonstration Facility.

UBC Sustainability’s SEEDS Sustainability Program enables students, staff and faculty to collaboratively explore ways to address campus sustainability challenges, so it could be an appropriate avenue to look into this issue further.

Leaf Blowers

Leaf blowing occurs once a year for a relatively short period of time, and given the large size of our campus and the amount of leaves that we need to manage, using gas-powered leaf blowers is—at this time—the most efficient and effective solution. Manual leaf collection would require a large manual workforce that would mean less resources available to manage other elements of campus operations, in addition to the potential for ergonomic issues. While electric leaf blowers exist, they are not yet feasible for deployment given the size of the campus.

Efficient collection of leaves allows us to collect the leaves and compost them on campus in order to produce soil which is then reused throughout the campus.