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Michael Garrity, Project Manager and Environmental Analyst at MassDOT, using a battery-powered chainsaw at the FAC88 event

Michael Garrity, Project Manager and Environmental Analyst at MassDOT, using a battery-powered chainsaw at the FAC88 event

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of airport operations, but clearing and maintaining vegetation in and around airport property is essential to prevent them from becoming obstructions or hazards to airport operations. This spring, 10 public-use airports around Massachusetts, including New Bedford Regional Airport and Pittsfield Municipal Airport, are taking a more environmentally friendly approach to getting this task done. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) Aeronautics Division has moved forward with funding several pieces of commercial-grade, battery-powered landscaping equipment procured through Statewide Contract FAC88 to support their Vegetation Management Program (VMP) in an environmentally friendly and economical way.

The 10 airports will be using a variety of new, lower emission equipment – including chainsaws, backpack-style blowers, pole saws, and trimmers. Additionally, a solar charging canopy mower was purchased for use at the Turners Falls Municipal Airport, which also is converting their existing gas-engine tractor to propane (through FAC88, Category 2 – Tractor Accessories) – a low-carbon alternative fuel.

Michael Garrity, Project Manager and Environmental Analyst at MassDOT’s Aeronautics Division, explained, “This equipment will help reduce carbon emission, support noise reduction initiatives, and contribute to the MassDOT sustainability efforts. These alternatives to gas-powered equipment offer health and environmental benefits, long-term savings opportunities, and are consistent with the Commonwealth’s climate change initiatives.”

MassDOT was first exposed to these options after trying out several pieces of equipment at an FAC88 Statewide Contract event in Lexington last fall. The event unveiled the addition of commercial-grade, battery lawn equipment to the FAC88 Lawns and Grounds Equipment Statewide Contract and gave attendees the opportunity to try out various pieces of battery-powered lawn equipment offered by newly awarded FAC88 Category 13 vendors.

Garrity asserts, “After attending the event in Lexington, we sent out a survey to our airports that participate in the VMP program to see if there was interest in obtaining commercial-grade, battery-operated landscape equipment, and the response was overwhelmingly, ‘Yes’.”

Learn more about these solutions in the FAC88 Contract User Guide or contact Gayle Gionet at 617-720-3381.

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