By Barry Makarewicz — Christoph Heinrich, a local and national level cyclist, is passionate about good health, our environment and cycling and has been able to combine these passions into a zero-emission lawn care service that uses only solar and renewable energy to care for residential and commercial lawns and yards in Salt Lake and southern Davis counties. His new company is called Blue Planet Lawn and relies entirely on electric equipment and transportation. No carbon emissions allowed! It was quite a sight when he came to cut my grass and pulled up on an E-bike pulling his trailer full of equipment.
Christoph is originally from Zug, Switzerland and moved to the US in 2011 to expand his software company and settle his family in Salt Lake City. Once here in Utah he developed his passion for bike racing of every style imaginable and has become a serious force in gravel, mountain, road and especially cyclocross racing. He won the US National Championship in Cyclocross in 2018 in Reno, Nevada. Christoph still routinely crushes the field in all kinds of cycling events and is a member of the KUHL Cycling Team.
Christoph’s idea for a zero-emission lawn care business formed in 2020 when he became aware of the shocking amounts of pollution created by gas powered lawn mowing equipment. “I started Blue Planet Lawn with the goal to significantly reduce air pollution in the Salt Lake Valley. Traditional lawn care is a big contributor to the air pollution and being an entrepreneur, I decided that I can make the most impact by founding a company which is using right equipment to reduce air pollution,” said Christoph. For instance, lawn care maintenance causes 5% of air pollution in the US and even more in areas like the Salt Lake valley. Using a gas-powered trimmer or leaf blower for one hour is equivalent to driving a car 1,000 miles.
Gas powered lawn care machines; especially two-stroke engines are responsible for an outsized amount of air pollution, ground-level ozone, and smog. This contributes to and exacerbates existing health problems, discourages people from exercising, and keeps kids inside for recess. Noise pollution created by these machines is another big problem that is a normal and accepted part of daily life. Christoph concluded that there must be a better way to do this.
“Our impact is mostly in criteria pollutants which cause the bad air in the Salt Lake Valley, such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter which in combination with sunlight create ground-level ozone. This is where we make the biggest difference. CO2-savings are not significant.
“To illustrate how much we reduce air pollution, I like the following comparison: 1 hour of running a two-stroke powered tool, such as leaf blower or trimmer, emits the same amount of pollution like driving a car for about 1,000 miles! So, for every crew we have working, we save at least 30,000-40,000 miles of driving. And that is right here, in our neighborhood!”
Noisy and polluting gas-powered lawn machines are ubiquitous in our urban environment and after seeing and hearing them as a daily reminder of their damaging effect on our air quality, Christoph launched Blue Planet Lawn, the first of its kind zero emission lawn care service, in the summer of 2022. Every aspect of this service is solar or rechargeable battery powered. When practical for jobs in the Salt Lake valley, he uses an E-bike to pull a small trailer with a built in 100-watt solar panel and lithium battery to carry the battery powered mower, trimmer, and blower.
Christoph is committed to renewable energy for environmental and health reasons and believes that in the near future gas powered lawn care machines will mostly be replaced by battery-powered equipment. The recently installed solar panels on his Salt Lake City home recharge the batteries for all Blue Planet Lawnthe lawn equipment. He added, “I am a fan of solar power, which makes a lot of sense especially here in sunny Utah. We have a 13kWh solar system on our house which generates enough energy to power the house and two electric cars.” His new electric car pulls a larger solar trailer for bigger and more distant jobs.
The business is doing well, and gives Christoph a workout, “On inclines over 10%, I need to pedal very hard to get the trailer up the hill. With only seven gears available, it is a good low-cadence power workout!”
He typically rides 15-20 miles a day, seeing 4-6 clients. Over the week, it’s about 10-15 on the e-bike, and the rest with the electric vehicle and larger 350W solar trailer.
Customers can choose how they want the grass clippings dealt with. 80% of the lawn clipping are finely chopped and mulched into the lawn by the twin blade battery powered mower. This grass mulching adds to the organic material of the lawn and helps reduce the need for water by the grass. The rest are collected and sent to a green waste recycling facility. Leaf mulching or hand raking is another service provided by Blue Planet Lawn in the fall months. Pricing for these services is similar or slightly lower than other companies due to no fuel costs and less equipment maintenance.
The next time you go past a lawn care crew using noisy, high polluting machines, think of Christoph Heinrich and his quiet, zero emission lawn care service: Blue Planet Lawn. He is ready to expand in 2023, “We are planning to grow the company organically here in the Salt Lake Valley where many people share my concerns about air quality. This summer, we’re also evaluating a micro-franchise model and are looking for youth interested in owning their own business. We’ll equip them with all the gear (including the e-bike) for them to be able to get started.”
A guy riding an E-bike could take care of your yard, pulling a solar powered trailer with zero emissions and very little noise.
Christoph would like to encourage people to make the switch to zero emissions lawn care. He is ready to expand Blue Planet Lawn in 2023. For more information and to request a quote, visit at blueplanetlawn.com.
Brand and Model of Bike:
- Momentum PakYak E+ with a 250W Motor and 500Wh battery, Range 35 – 60 miles
Info on the trailer:
- Surly Bill Trailer, long bed with 300lbs capacity
- Design and how it was built: Custom built aluminum box with solar panel and power station
- Carrying Capacity: 300 lbs. max
- Solar panel/charging capability: 100W Solar Panel and 540Wh power station and battery charger. Each tool has its own battery ranging from 220Wh to 560Wh.
Lawn Care tools:
List of battery powered tools:
- EGO Power+ Mower 21Inch
- EGO String Trimmer Auto Feed
- EGO Leaf Blower Power+ 650CFM
List of Hand tools:
- Hedge Shears
- Various small parts