It would seem like an obvious first step for the sustainability movement, wouldn’t all landscaping companies want to show their green thumb and apply practices that protect the plants and lawns they work so hard to manicure and create? While you might think so it is actually an industry that is riddled with opportunities to apply green technology and sustainable practices, yet with fewer companies than expected jumping on board.
Perhaps it is the history of landscaping which is anchored by a strong need for gas powered engines to run everything from leaf blowers to lawn mowers. Perhaps it is the need to quickly and effectively work through a high quantity of jobs to maintain a consistent profit margin and stay in business. Or perhaps it is simply old habits keeping the adoption of newer practices from obtaining mainstream use… It is a new topic for many groundskeepers, landscapers and small business owners and many might be hesitant to adopt new practices and buy sometimes expensive equipment, not sure if it will work with the same efficiency expected.
Even simple and inexpensive practices such as planting native plants over imported or utilizing proper tree location to shade and allow heat to a house during the summer and winter months, though common knowledge to most, is not even always applied. One of the keys is simply the economics of the landscaping business, it is one in which high volume and low profit margins, thus quantity will win over quality more often than not. Now this is not to say that landscaping companies do not do good work or do not care about quality, they certainly do to still be in business. What it means is that with small profit margins per job they are forced to make cost saving decisions in order to profit on the job and give the client what they desire, which is a green lawn that the neighbors will be jealous of.
One of the largest areas for growth in the green and sustainable landscaping business will be pairing up with home energy auditors and providing an all-in-one service that incorporates the total home energy picture as whole and not just as many separate parts. As the energy auditor notices that one side of the house is heating up far more during certain winter months than the other side due to the trajectory of the sun in the sky, a landscaping specialist can be recommending tree types and planting locations that will maximize the amount of energy that nature already provides the homeowner.
This can go as far as to think of the house and yard as one and not as two separate entities as is commonly thought among appraisers. If the energy systems of the house are optimized to work best with the landscape of the yard around it we move one step closer to sustainability as we find a better balance with nature.
This is just one way in which sustainability and advances in green technology could be applied along the best basic of levels to obtain a meaningful and lasting impact on our world, one household at a time.