Greenwich gets a lesson on how to ‘Mow Green’

Have you ever mowed your lawn with the loud din of the motor ringing in your ear and the fumes clogging your nose and thought there had to be a better way than this?

A business in town says that there is and, at the peak of the summer heat, two men set out on a four-acre mowing marathon with manual mowers to show Greenwich just how clean and noise-free landscaping can be.

Last week in the middle of the most recent heat wave, Dan Delventhal, founder and owner of MowGreen, and Marty Murray, a Greenwich resident, spent about six hours working on the property in North Greenwich. Their push mowers were not standard. They had two wide blades fixed together and a third smaller blade in the back and with these machines they were able to cover a lot of area. Most importantly, according to Mr. Delventhal, MowGreen’s tools do not emit any greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change and deteriorating air quality.

“If we drove to Florida and back and then to Canada, the pollution we’d create would be roughly the pollution we avoid just today,” said Mr. Delventhal, “not to mention the workout.”

Mr. Delventhal calls himself “Man of LaMowGreen,” alluding to Don Quixote’s epic literary journey. The company’s mission to “get the gas off the grass” is a reality in its fifth year of operation with 40 clients around Fairfield County. Mr. Delventhal started the company after a 30-year career in sales and technology and is completing an MBA at Fairfield University.

Mr. Murray has worked with MowGreen in Greenwich for two years. They had assistance from Ernesto Locayo, who has also been part of the crew for two years, who used a small trimmer with rechargeable lithium batteries.

The men claim that working with gasoline-powered mowers raises the risk of spilling the toxic substance into your lawn and potentially into a water supply. According to the EPA, American gas-powered lawn care tools spill more oil every year than the infamous Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil tanker spill. Mr. Delventhal believes that improving lawn care tools, which normally contribute to 5% of the nation’s pollution, can solve the poor air quality that affects the area.

Their biggest effort is converting people from the easier method of lawn mowing to his way. Just as with any new product, they say there are things that people aren’t willing to give up so easily, like the familiar noise of a mower or the stripes on a freshly cut lawn. Mr. Delventhal says that some are hesitant due to these details, but as their equipment improves they will be able to better match their clients’ needs.

Mr. Murray boasted the benefits of having a quieter environment without equipment buzzing every day. He used to live in Rye, which has a summer leaf blower ban similar to the one recently considered and ultimately voted down by the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting. He also said that their service is for a unique market that will pay for a good cause.

“When you go to Whole Foods, it’s packed. This is the same type of thing,” he said. “It’s sort of a premium service.”

MowGreen also aims to become a community project. Mr. Delventhal imagines that every community will have MowGreen equipment, managed and used locally, which will reduce commuter pollution as well as that from mowing. They will invest in mowers that are portable and can be attached to a bicycle or fit in a small car.

Mr. Locayo, who works seven days a week, knows that the job is tough but they are willing to do it with the right tools.

“The big landscaping companies, they’ll drive by a job and they go, “Wow, you guys are crazy. You’re out there doing this big of a property with that?”

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