By Larry Hightower
After spending fifteen years working in grounds maintenance with Great Life Golf and Alvamar Country Club, Henry Wulfekoetter combined his expertise in turf management with his passion for the environment to open Verdant Blades Sustainable Lawn Care. This new business, based in south Kansas City, is the only zero emission lawn care service in the metro area. He states, “While many customers appreciate the benefits of sustainability, we know they also care about quality work, competitive prices and a dramatic reduction in noise pollution. Another thing that sets us apart is that we have no binding contracts. Customers may discontinue services with no questions asked.”
Verdant Blades uses only zero emission electric Mean Green commercial grade mowers. Handheld equipment, such as leaf blowers and trimmers, are also powered by rechargeable batteries. After being charged overnight by solar powered batteries, the equipment can efficiently operate for a full workday. The solar panels at the charging station harvest more energy than is used, so the excess is sold to the grid. In contrast, the emission of small internal combustion engines are virtually unregulated. Some gas mowers may produce up to thirty times the emissions of automobiles. Every lawn that is mowed for a season with sustainable energy, has the environmental impact of taking three cars off the road for a year.
Although the zero emission mowers cost about 25% more, they have a relatively quick payoff achieved by eliminating fuel costs and dramatically reducing maintenance expenses. The reliability of the zero emission mowers is far higher, resulting in virtually no equipment down time.
A major benefit of using sustainable battery operated electric equipment is that the noise level is less than half the sound of that of an internal combustion mower. His customers and their neighbors will not hear lawnmower or snow blower motors from inside their homes. Consequently, his mowers can start work earlier in the day without disturbing residents.
Verdant Blades mow in appealing stripes at a fee of $35 dollars for a lawns of one-half acre or less. Mowing season begins with one cutting in late March, weekly service April through September, then every other week in October.
Two mows are scheduled in November and a final cut is done in December. The purpose of these three mows is energy sustainable leaf mulching. Leaves are cleaned out of landscaping, gathered and mulched. The mulch provides nutrients for the overall health of the lawn. Mulching also eliminates plastic and paper bags and their negative environmental impact.
Verdant Blades also offer snow and ice removal, also done with sustainable battery powered snow blowers. Customers may choose an unlimited package with all snow and ice removed from November through March for $325, a monthly package of $100 per month, or one time service at $35. In keeping with the earth friendly business model, Verdant Blades uses only organic ice melt which is pet friendly, kid friendly and significantly less corrosive than sodium based products.
Although Verdant Blades only started in March, they already serve residential customers in South Kansas City, Grandview, Lee’s Summit, Overland Park, Leawood, Olathe, Spring Hill and Gardner. They are looking to serve commercial businesses and steadily expand to cover the entire Kansas City metro area. It is a true family business as Wulfekoetter’s wife, Miranda, a former human resources director, handles HR functions, scheduling and accounting.
For additional information, readers may visit the website: verdantbladeslawncare.com or call 816-548-7921.