Battery-powered landscaping equipment is quiet and eco friendly
“Every year we strive to become more environmentally sustainable as we expand and enhance the distillery campus,” says Maker’s Mark Director of Bottling and Warehousing Operations Brian Mattingly.
Maker’s Mark, served by Inter-County Energy, has contracted with Hord Landscapes of Campbellsville for about five years, says Mattingly. “When they saw the direction that we were going, to become more sustainable in every area of our business, they quickly stepped up to help us.”
Scott Hord, owner of Hord Landscapes and a Taylor County RECC consumer-member, says he purchased a Super Lawn Truck in 2018, which is a solar powered charging truck that also charges with electricity. “The Super Lawn Truck has batteries stored in the bottom of the truck,” says Hord. “We don’t have to worry about the sun, because at night we plug the truck up to electricity so that it stores more energy.”
Hord then purchased Greenworks battery-powered equipment, such as trimmers, edgers, hedge trimmers, blowers and chainsaws, all of which are charged with eight lithium batteries in the truck. Hord says, “In the spring of this year, we added two Greenworks zero-turn battery mowers, a 48-inch stand-on and a 60-inch seated one.”
“They are pruning shrubs, trimming hedges, mulching and mowing our main campus, as well as roadsides and areas where we have plantings,” says Mattingly.
Maker’s Mark Chief Distillery Officer and eighth-generation distiller Rob Samuels says, “Incorporating battery-powered equipment into our weekly landscaping work is one small step in that direction and matches our ever-increasing sensitivity about our place in the environment and the responsible use of natural resources.”
Hord, who has a horticulture degree from Eastern Kentucky University, explains there were three main reasons he decided to go solar and battery-operated. First, the Maker’s Mark campus gets over 200,000 visitors a year and the equipment is quiet, which limits the stopping of machines when someone walks by. Thinking about what is new and cutting-edge, Hord says, “I felt it would be good for my company to offer no-carbon emissions.” He says it will also save on fuel costs and carburetors. While there is an initial investment in equipment, he says, “Over a year, it’s supposed to save around $3,300 per mower and $200-$300 per trimmer.”
Mattingly says other sustainable changes Maker’s Mark has made includes converting the shuttle buses to propane, with plans to go electric in the future. Maker’s Mark is also installing a solar ray to offset the electric needs of the aging and maturing of barrels.
They also plan to trial and purchase Daimler Penske electric semi-trucks, which will be used to move finished goods from the bottling lines to the shipping distribution center in Lebanon. “This is ideal because it’s less than 20 miles roundtrip. Semi-trucks range 200-300 miles, so we could run all day,” says Mattingly. The semi-trucks will be charged overnight on the two-shift operation.
In the shift toward going green, everything counts. Maker’s Mark restaurant, Star Hill Provisions, now has a GEM, a miniature utility truck, for transporting materials on campus. “We removed all the plastic water bottles from the campus. For employees, we purchased reusable water bottles and installed a water refill station with filtered water,” says Mattingly.
Samuels adds, “My grandparents’ vision when they created Maker’s Mark was not only that it might elevate the bourbon category, but also that we would constantly look for meaningful ways to give back to the community.”