Local business keeps lawn care ‘green’

Local business keeps lawn care ‘green’

Company uses solar panels to power its mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers

According to a 2011 study by the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas is among the top polluters nationally when it comes to emissions from gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment.

While lawn-care crews beautify the city, they also add chemicals and noise to the environment.

“My father exposed me to the Boy Scouts when I was young, and he taught me about nature conservation and how to treat the environment,” said Joe Treviño, 36.

Treviño, a graduate of Texas A&M who also holds an MBA from the University of Houston, recently purchased a franchise called Clean Air Lawn Care.

The company employs solar panels on its trucks to power mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers. It also uses organic compounds to fight bugs and fertilize lawns.

Clean Air Lawn Care was founded by a former stockbroker in Colorado in 2006. Today it has 40 franchise owners who control 57 territories.

The initial franchise fee is $30,000. That’s according to Chrisane Jarosz, head of franchise support for the company.

“We’re pretty flexible when it comes to our franchise owners,” Jarosz said. “Some people decide to buy down their royalty payment by paying a higher initial fee. Other times, people can’t afford the initial fee, so we work with them on financing.”

Each of the company’s trucks has solar panels that charge the lawn equipment. On cloudy days, Treviño said, backup batteries provide enough power to finish a day’s work.

“One of the big draws for me was that electric motors are so much quieter than gas-powered ones,” Treviño said.

“To be honest, I never know when he’s at my house,” client Monica Silber said. “The only way I know is when he uses a weed eater, because otherwise I can’t hear the equipment.”

Treviño got into the lawn-care business after serving in the U.S. Army National Guard and working for oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico. Trained as a helicopter pilot, he most recently worked as an aircraft mechanic before he bought the franchise in the fall.

“I knew I wanted to do something outdoors, and something that would help the environment,” Treviño said.

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