Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro Government has a long list of sustainability goals to meet, from expanding the city’s tree canopy to reducing overall energy use. The city is well on its way to meeting several of these goals, including reducing its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of its sustainability initiatives, the city added 11 propane-powered mowers to its Metro Fleet Division in early 2018, with plans to continue transitioning the city’s 68 remaining gasoline mowers to propane units.

Propane easily fit the city’s goals. Compared to gasoline, using propane mowers reduces greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (NOx), and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions. Because of this, the city was recognized as the second-annual Green Leadership Award winner by PERC, and received a $5,000 donation to help continue the city’s transition to the clean fuel.

“Louisville has set an incredible example for the rest of the region of what a municipality can accomplish when it decides that its environmental impact matters and takes necessary steps to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Jeremy Wishart, PERC’s director of off-road business development.

The propane mowers allow city crews to continue mowing on Air Quality Alert Days, when mowing with both commercial and residential gasoline equipment is discouraged to avoid adding to ground-level pollution. In addition to offering more uptime, propane mowers cost approximately 25 percent less to operate over the life of the unit compared to gasoline, too, according to the city.

“Propane mowers help us improve upon our long-term sustainability goals as a city while also being prudent with the taxpayer’s money,” said Greg Fischer, Louisville mayor. “Anytime we can make operational changes that improve the community’s quality of life while saving on costs is a win-win.”

The propane mowers are used by five departments that manage grass growth on city properties as well as vacant and abandoned private properties, including the Louisville Zoo, the Vacant Lots Division of Codes & Regulations, Metro Parks, Public Works, and the Metro Facilities Division.