At Smithsonian Gardens, we are especially conscious of how our work impacts the world around us and how the choices we make impact the future.  That is why it made perfect sense to partner with the Smithsonian’s Arts & Industries Building on the recent FUTURES exhibit there by installing two solar Recharge Stations in the adjacent Enid A. Haupt Garden.  These stations can not only recharge your electronics, but also your body with places to sit in the shade.

The stations convert solar energy, collected from photovoltaic panels, into electricity.  But this energy is not just for personal electronics!  One of the Recharge Stations is used for some of our garden tools and a utility vehicle.  This arrangement sees SG using less gasoline which releases fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere.  Innovative technologies like this one are being utilized every day to help lower our impact on the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Elsewhere at SG, we make use of electric tools to complete daily grounds maintenance tasks.  These include electric blowers, trimmers, mowers, edgers, tillers, and even a chainsaw.  But these electric tools don’t just benefit the natural environment, they are also better for those who operate them and for the general public.  Electric tools are often quieter than their gas-powered counterparts which not only helps keep our gardens calmer and more relaxing for visitors to the Smithsonian but can also benefit their operators’ ears over time by generating fewer decibels.  They also require less maintenance thanks to fewer parts that need replacing each year; gas tools have components like filters and other engine parts that eventually wear out.

In addition to electric tools, SG utilizes small electric vehicles to move people and plants around the grounds. We have replaced a number of less sustainable vehicles (except for special cases like plowing snow) with such vehicles.  SG also contracts with a groundskeeping company that uses propane mowers which—while still needing a fossil fuel to operate–produce far less carbon emissions than gasoline.  Together these efforts help reduce the Smithsonian’s overall environmental impact and showcase the many ways that our institution lowers its carbon emissions.