November 2023 Newsletter

Nov 16, 2023

Let’s talk about quiet, clean, 100% electric yard care

The red and gold tones of Portland’s deciduous trees have been exceptionally brilliant this year! But as we enjoy the sight of leaves peacefully drifting to the ground, our ears are often assaulted by the loud and annoying drone of gas-powered leaf blowers. Besides being a nuisance, gas leaf blowers are also pretty dangerous:

  • Noise: Their high intensity, low-frequency noise travels further and penetrates windows and walls more than the noise from electric blowers. Operating a gas blower can cause permanent hearing damage in just two hours! These machines consistently violate Portland’s noise ordinance and negatively impact people and wildlife.
  • Emissions: Most gas-powered leaf blowers use two-stroke engines that emit hundreds of times more fine particulates and other hazardous pollutants than automobiles. The pollution from just 1 hour of gas leaf blowing equals the pollution from driving 1,100 miles in a gas-powered car! Yikes!
  • Health impacts: Some of the pollutants released include formaldehyde, benzene, fine particulate matter, and smog-forming chemicals which are associated with headaches, asthma attacks, heart and lung disease, cancer, and dementia. They also kick up clouds of unhealthy debris that can include pollen, feces, pesticides, lead and asbestos. (Electric blowers do the same, though usually to a lesser extent.)
  • Wildlife: The noise is extremely disruptive for wildlife, especially species that rely on sound to communicate. Not only that, clearing leaves with a blower disrupts or destroys habitat for pollinators, amphibians, and small mammals.

There’s another way! Actually, a few other ways.

A healthy, beautiful yard doesn’t require the noise and toxic emissions from gas leaf blowers, mowers and other fossil fuel equipment. Here are some quieter, cleaner options:

  • Leave the leaves. While it’s standard practice to tidy up your yard by removing all the fallen leaves, one of the most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other wildlife (while also nurturing your soil) is to provide them with the winter cover they need. As the Xerces Society puts it, “You gave them flowers and a place to nest. You tended your garden and avoided pesticides. Don’t carry all of that hard work out to the curb. Simply put, when we treat leaves like trash—we’re tossing out the beautiful moths and butterflies that we’ll surely miss and work so very hard to attract.”
  • Use a rake and broom. They’re more efficient than you think! Check out this grandma who proved that rakes and brooms are just as fast as a leaf blower.
  • Ask your yard care contractor to switch to electric tools. If that doesn’t work, hire a yard care company that doesn’t use gas-powered equipment. There is a growing list of contractors who use manual and/or electric tools—support them!
  • Switch to electric lawn tools. Battery-powered tools produce zero emissions, are rechargeable, more efficient, reliable and much quieter. Check out this list of electric lawn tools recommended by Consumer Reports.

Please support the current effort to ban gas leaf blowers city-wide.

Quiet Clean PDX is asking Portland’s Commissioners to enact a city-wide ban on gas leaf blowers that would take effect in 1-2 years, allowing time for the transition to electric and manual equipment. Help convince the Mayor and Commissioners to pass this ordinance by sending them an email. They need to hear from you now!

Find out more on Quiet Clean PDX’s website

Join us for a celebratory happy hour on Thursday, December 7th!

ElectrifyPDX launched last November, and after just one year, we have more than 150 households enrolled in our program, we’ve hosted Portland’s first home electrification fair with 800 attendees, and we’ve joined a wonderful community of homeowners, renters, contractors, and community organizations who are excited about electrifying for a healthy home and planet. We’re excited for the year ahead, and would love to raise a glass with you, thank you for your efforts and enthusiasm, and hear your ideas for how we can do more great work in 2024. We hope to see you at Oakshire Beer Hall in the all-ages Barrel Room from 5-7pm on 12/7!



Home electrification consultations: feedback and volunteers wanted!

In the new year, ElectrifyPDX is hoping to offer free consultations to people who sign up for our program—a quick orientation to the world of home electrification, as well as some personalized high-level advice for how to get started on the electrification journey.

We want to hear from you:
Would you find one of these consultations helpful? Would you sign up for ElectrifyPDX if we were able to offer them? Are you interested in training up to provide consultations to your fellow Portlanders?

Take our quick survey and share your thoughts!

*Survey will close Wednesday, Nov. 22nd*

Heat Pump Water Heater—Smashing Deal!

Hybrid (Heat Pump) Water Heaters are more than 3 times as efficient as standard water heaters. Thanks to instant rebates from Energy Trust of Oregon, they are available for less than a standard water heater, plus delivery to your home is FREE! This great deal, available through the end of the year, is available through General Pacific.

Through the end of the 2023, get a 50 Gallon Rheem Heat Pump water heater for $599, delivered to your home. Plus, it’ll qualify for a 30% federal tax credit! You must be a PGE or Pacific Power customer.

General Pacific delivers the water heater to your front door for free, and you can work with the plumber of your choice for installation. If you live in the Portland Metro area, Great Northwest Installations is a recommended hybrid water heater installer.

Learn more about this deal and find out how to order


Rainbows and Worms! Check out our interview with Making Earth Cool

We were so excited to sit down with Making Earth Cool, an ongoing project focused on creating videos, photos, art and events that use positivity, comedy and creativity to educate and inspire people to be better stewards of our only home, Earth. Check out this fun interview!


Feeling inspired to electrify your home? Sign up for ElectrifyPDX!

By signing up today, you’re joining thousands of Oregonians who are taking the biggest climate action they can, while also making their homes healthier and more comfortable. Join the movement, and inspire others to take action, too!

Here’s how it works: Sign up for a yard sign and helpful resources. As you clean up your electric supply and electrify each system in your home, apply badges to your sign. Get certified when your home is 100% powered with clean energy!

Your home doesn’t need to be electrified or powered by clean electricity for you to join our program. We welcome everyone, whether you’re still making plans or are nearly done! Join ElectrifyPDX to get contractor recommendations, resources and advice.

Sign up for ElectrifyPDX


Try Canopy—an Easy Online Tool That Helps You Electrify Your Home.

Wondering how to get started on your home electrification journey? Looking for a little guidance?

You might like Canopy, a free online tool that gives you a personalized plan based on some basic information about your home, car, and where you live.

Just answer a few questions, then get a personalized dashboard with recommendations for upgrades, as well as info about incentives, contractors, and product guides. You can also schedule a free 30-min call to get your specific questions answered.

Canopy is an independent company, not affiliated with any contractors. They’ve offered a local version of their program for free to ElectrifyPDX participants. Try it out and let us know what you think!

Sign up for Canopy here