Over the next decade, more parks and recreation agencies will convert from fossil fuels to electrically powered tools, equipment, vehicles, and even buildings. Many agencies have already begun electrifying, but others have not and are unprepared for the challenges of electrification. Parks agencies should start planning and budgeting to ensure the changeover is cost-efficient and future-proof.
Why Park Agencies Are Electrifying
There are a few reasons why we have seen an uptick in park agencies making the switch away from fossil fuels, including:
- More cost-efficient operations
- Understanding that renewable energy is more reliable than fossil-fueled energy
- Knowing renewable sources of energy are more sustainable and environmentally responsible.
Cities and states have started to enact laws to move toward carbon-free energy sources, which have also led to more agencies electrifying. To support the journey to sustainability, grants and funds are available for parks and recreation agencies to build charging infrastructure, conservation and climate-resiliency projects, purchase clean-power vehicles and equipment, and community health projects.
New Technology in Park and Recreation
New technology is going on the market monthly to support clean power, some of which will directly benefit parks and recreations on their electrification journey, one being large battery energy storage systems. These systems are used for the following:
- Low-tech materials- rocks, bricks, and sand
- Solar photovoltaic coatings- roofs, walls, and windows
- Solar photovoltaic shingles
- Charging stations
Manufacturers are also gearing up and working on creating electric-powered equipment for parks and recreation agencies. Early states, such as New York and California, are leading the way and passing mandates for the transition from diesel and gas-powered tools, equipment, and vehicles to those powered by renewable energy.
Delivering dependable electric power where it is needed is still a challenge, even with support from the public and government officials. There may not be access to electric service where needed. If you don’t have the correct charge management software, there is a chance integration may not work. The biggest difficulty might be financing initial expenses. Despite these challenges, there are plenty of opportunities to overcome the hurdles.
Parks and recreation agencies have a unique opportunity as neighborhood and community parks are ideal locations for public electric vehicle charging stations. This means public parks can help close the existing “charging gap” across the United States. Closing the gap comes at a cost, but with states and localities playing a major role in electrification, incentives are available with more to come- a result of the federal Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022.
As for integration, AssetWorks Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software can help with electric vehicle charging stations. EAM can be upgraded with our FuelFocusEV software to provide agencies data on asset age, inspection and maintenance history, and a birds-eye view of chargers. Data collection is very important when electrifying, so having the proper integrative solution allows agencies to have asset information automatically updated for fewer errors.