Many of the tasks required to maintain a clean township need energy, water, and responsible landfill management, and how local governments manage these issues can have a big impact on their carbon footprint.
It raises the question – how can a local government balance its desire for a clean township with its sustainability goals?
The challenges for local governments choosing to go green
By its very nature, the work a local government does to keep public spaces clean and maintained has a significant impact on the environment. From minimising water usage and landfill to reducing carbon emissions, we will all experience the benefits of councils taking steps towards sustainable practice for years to come.
Local governments want to do the right thing by the environment and be seen doing the right thing. In fact, they may face reputational risk if they don’t.
Whether it’s installing solar panels or low-energy light globes, transitioning to a fleet of green vehicles, these changes can lead to a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions.
A council in Melbourne has seen firsthand the impact the region has made as it progresses towards carbon neutral goals. Within Council’s City Services division, it has transitioned to a green fleet of electric vehicles, machinery and equipment, and the township cleaners drive electric vehicles. But one unexpected challenge it has faced has been backlash from some community members.
“We do get a bit of community feedback saying it’s a waste of money. They say we should wait until the electric industry is more mature and prices have come down before buying electric vehicles and equipment,” a Council spokesperson said.
Shaping positive public opinions and attitudes while managing reputational risk
Strong leadership and strategy are essential for councils seeking to increase trust within their community regarding the net zero emission actions they’re taking. Councils need to ensure their constituents and stakeholders are both engaged and informed. Creating positive public opinion about net-zero goals is a key part of their governance and leadership role.
Even though councils will encounter constituents who disagree with their sustainability goals, it’s important to have inclusive communications to allow those members of the public to be engaged in the process on their terms. Listening to voices that disagree shows strong leadership. It’s important to manage disagreement with transparency. It’s an opportunity for councils to engage all on the potential impact of net-zero and global warming effects.
A good governance framework enables reputation stewardship. How an organisation or business approaches climate change is increasingly becoming a reputational risk that needs mitigation.
Taking action, like transitioning to 100 per cent battery-operated equipment, such as EcoTeq commercial mowers and other maintenance equipment, is a great opportunity to enhance a council’s reputation. With the vehicles seen out and about, they are tangible pointers to the council’s actions towards net-zero emissions.
“Other people praise us for being progressive and future thinking. We’re not a typical old council. We are looking at innovation at all times,” a Council spokesperson said.
Committing to net zero emissions
The Melbourne council committed to a 45 per cent reduction in corporate greenhouse gas emissions and to be carbon neutral in 2022.
It have installed solar electricity generation (PV) panels on 32 council buildings with the capability to generate 230kW. Since 2013, it has also upgraded 8,000 streetlights along minor roads to 80 per cent more efficient LED technology.
With the adoption of green vehicles and maintenance equipment, the council has also upgraded infrastructure to allow for convenient charging points.
“We’ve got six charging points at the depot, two at the civic centre, as well as car parks with charging stations. Once the infrastructure is there, people can be more confident about driving to a point and getting charged,” a Council spokesperson said.
Undertaking city presentation tasks in a sustainable way
When the council saw EcoTeq’s EcoWash 100, it knew right away they wanted to add one to the fleet.
“It’s a game-changer in my industry. The machine is brilliant. I love it,” a Council spokesperson said.
There are several ways the council could see the EcoWash 100 revolutionising the way its team cleaned.
The benefits to the EcoWash 100 are:
- It carries a decent amount of water – over 200L
- It self-drives – with no labour required to push it, the operator finds it easy to use and not tiring
- It’s portable and can clean difficult-to-reach places
- It makes easy work of cleaning outdoor spaces, where there are a lot of bird droppings and using a noisy high-pressure washer is not ideal. The EcoWash 100 has very little over-spray and it’s quiet and doesn’t emit any fumes
- Has minimal disturbance on passing foot traffic
Taking on the procurement process
The procurement process for buying an electric machine was the same as any other purchase.
“When we review new equipment, we check if there’s an electric version. When I go out to market, I’ll contact both diesel and electric-powered suppliers. The review process is the same. We look at the pros and cons. We compare an electric machine like every other machine in the matrix. How fast does it sweep? How much does it carry? What is its physical working time?”
The EcoWash 100 ticked all the right boxes.
Maintaining the EcoWash 100
Because the EcoWash 100 is a new machine and unlike anything else in their arsenal, it’s hard to make a direct comparison between the cost of running and maintaining this machine and other high-pressure cleaners. But where it’s clearly a winner is in the maintenance side of things.
“One of the reasons we got an electric machine is that there’s no moving parts. From a maintenance point of view, it’s brilliant. We just make sure the batteries are topped up and filters changed. One of the selling points of the machine is fewer parts. It saves us downtime,”a Council spokesperson said.
The EcoWash 100 also has enough battery charge to last for the whole day.
“It solves so many problems with access to hard-to-reach places, water, and a high-pressure hose. It’s a true multi-tasking machine – from removing bird droppings, then pressure washing a bin, then removing moss from under a park seat. I cannot praise this machine enough.”
Learn more about the EcoWash 100 here.
Next Generation Maintenance Equipment available now.
Zero emissions. Zero compromise.
This sponsored editorial is brought to you by EcoTeq. For more information, visit ecoteq.com.au