The changing sound of the landscape industry

Scythe Robotics Sound + Sustainability

The look of the professional landscape contractor industry is certainly changing, and so is the sound. The growing adoption of electric, battery-powered mowers and handheld equipment is leading to a distinctly quieter and more sustainable industry.

With noise abatement regulations in place in many municipalities and gaining traction across the country, landscape contractors are under pressure to ratchet down the decibels. Additionally, many contractors and communities are looking to create less disruption to the natural environments they live and work in, and sound is an important consideration in that equation.

Research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows sustained exposure to noises above 85 dB can increase the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. The typical gas-powered mower operates at around 95 decibels (dB): the equivalent of a motorcycle roaring down the street.

Switching to electric-powered equipment can better protect landscape crews and create a healthier, sustainable working environment for them and their customers.

Commitment to safety

Safety is a critical pillar at Scythe Robotics. The ‘safety stack’ engineered into the design of Scythe’s M.52 autonomous electric mower includes redundant 360-degree sensors, a rear-discharge deck, and advanced AI to detect obstacles to get every job done safely. Another important part of that ‘safety stack’ is effective noise prevention.

Scythe uses special, patent-pending blades to achieve higher efficiency. These also reduce the mower’s noise profile when the blades are running. The lack of an internal combustion engine also makes the mower much quieter overall, even without blades spinning.

“For M.52, we have measured the sound intensity to be around 75 decibels – which is roughly equivalent to a passing car – at the operator,” said Rob McCutcheon, senior staff mechanical engineer for Scythe Robotics. “The lower intensity means that the operator can use the machine more comfortably and more effectively as it allows them to be more aware of their surroundings.”

Business benefits of a quieter, sustainable workplace

In addition to decreased exposure to potentially harmful high noise and vibration levels that are associated with traditional gas-powered mowers and equipment, electric equipment will provide landscape crews with additional business benefits while they sustainably care for residential and commercial properties: 

  • An earlier start to the day. The lower sound intensity with electric mowers and handheld equipment enables landscape contractors to schedule earlier starts and later stops when needed. Quieter equipment means you will not disturb people in the early hours of the day or later hours of the evening.
  • There is also minimal disruption during the day, creating less impact for remote or home-based businesses. Some office parks and school campuses also prefer to be serviced during off-hours or on weekends, but the less sound-invasive presence of electric mowers and equipment will allow contractors to mow these properties during regular business hours.
  • Contractors can also tout the increased safety of operation around pedestrians with mowers and other electric equipment. The lower sound intensity levels mean that operators can be more productive in parks and neighborhoods where pedestrian density is higher.
  • Landscape contractors can submit bids on jobs with the added benefit of being able to say they operate more quietly and sustainably than competing bids. Corporate procurement departments are placing more emphasis in the RFP process on sustainability and deploying emission-free electric equipment can be an advantage.

Read more about Sound, Safety, and Sustainability and how it’s changing the landscape industry.


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