Louisville Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh (D., 9th Dist.) unveiled a new electric lawnmower Thursday, which she purchased for the Billy Goat Hill Community Garden with about $5,000 in taxpayer funds. “This is a very important day for the district as we move forward with our Green Triangle initiative,” said Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh. “If we are serious about being good stewards of our environment and creating sustainable solutions, this lawn mower is a logical choice to help the community garden,”
Ward-Pugh was joined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer for the unveiling of the new Hustler Zeon Lawn Mower. The mower is the latest in the “green industry” to stress its quietness and efficiency. “Going green is the right thing to do for Louisville,” Mayor Fischer said. “Any size change can make an impact. I commend Councilwoman Ward-Pugh for her innovative thinking when it comes to green initiatives.”
The mower was purchased for the Billy Goat Hill Community Garden with 9th District Neighborhood Development Funds by Councilwoman Ward-Pugh, who climbed aboard and took the lawnmower for its maiden flight. Mayor Fischer waived a checkered flag to signal the take-off, and Councilwoman Ward-Pugh promptly crashed into a raised garden bed. Fortunately, there was no visible damage either to the brave councilwoman or the pricey new lawnmower.
Photo of Councilwoman Ward-Pugh on her big yellow lawnmower, from Jake Payne’s clever story: It’s Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh On A Hustler 
The Hustler Zeon lawnmower has a 48 volt operating system, twin AC drive motors and dual DC deck mowers, and will operate for about an hour, before needing a sixteen hour recharging session. When it debuted in 2009, it sold for about $7,000 ($10,000, fully equipped), but the company is now selling a stripped-down model for about five grand (the price of a dozen pretty-good Lawn Boys).
Folks with even a passing familiarity with Newton’s First Law of Thermodynamics know that Councilwoman Ward-Pugh’s big yellow lawnmower will do precious little to reduce carbon emissions or otherwise save our “fragile” planet. What we have here is five grand’s worth of spectacle and symbolism.
Instead of using a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine—one of the most energy-efficient devices yet developed—Ms. Ward-Pugh’s big yellow lawnmower operates for about an hour after draining 16 hours of electricity from LG&E. That electricity is produced by burning coal, in an inefficient heat-transfer boiler which runs a steam generator. Most of the energy contained in the coal goes up in smoke and heat, and the electricity generated must be transferred across town to the lawnmower’s charging station. Much energy is lost in transmission, by what physicists call “leakage.”
The makers of the Hustler Zeon will not provide you with any specifics concerning the KWHr./BHP ratios involved, so that you can evaluate just how may watts of electricity you will burn to generate a horsepower of grass-cutting ability. They just promise that, with the price of gasoline going up, you’ll probably save money in the long run.
Later, Thursday evening, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed an ordinance adopting changes to the Land Development Code via a resolution introduced in March 2011, which Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh sponsored. These changes will reward builders and developers for incorporating “green building practices” into their projects by providing for greater development intensity on qualifying projects.
“This is the right thing for us to do so we grow responsibly as a community,” says Ward-Pugh. “The future of development is here and across the nation and is focused on green and sustainable best practices.” These practices include more bicycle parking spaces, and the installation of “green” roofs.
Of course, all of this “green” silliness would be laughable—but for the fact that it’s a complete waste of taxpayer money, at a time when the City can barely pay for indigent medical care at University Hospital. The cornerstone of all this feel-good environmental posturing seems to be that it is more important to “be seen” caring for the environment, than to do anything that will ever have a measurable positive effect.
In all fairness to Councilwoman Ward-Pugh, she is known to be one of the most conscientious, hard-working members of the Louisville Metro Council. None can doubt but that her motives are pure; and it is obvious that she is well-regarded by her constituents.
If only she knew a little more about Newton’s First Law of Thermodynamics…
Hustler ZEON All-Electric mower commercial: