When Adam St. Pierre inherited a lawn care company from a high school friend, the south Minneapolis-based business owner could never have known his entrepreneurial spirit would lead him to pioneer cleaner, healthier yard care in the Metro 18 years later.
Established in 2003, Diamond Cut Lawn Care serves Edina, Richfield, and south Minneapolis with full service lawn care including cutting, trimming, and edging, as well as organic fertilization and weed control programs. The company broke new ground in the Twin Cities in 2019 when it began operating with electric blowers, edgers, trimmers, and push mowers in place of their gas-powered counterparts. Now, Diamond Cut is the first and only lawn service in the area to power its electric lawn equipment with solar energy on the go.
“Lawn care can become repetitive after time,” Adam says. “So embracing new technology to achieve a more sustainable service is exciting.”
Innovation is nothing new to Fresh Energy, having worked for nearly 30 years to help Minnesota reach its carbon reduction goals. Part of that work requires electrifying tools and appliances that traditionally use fossil gas, a process called “beneficial electrification” that is crucial to decarbonizing our energy system. Consumers play a significant role in this process—they drive market trends and both service providers and manufacturers take notice.
To progress—and health
Diamond Cut’s transition to cleaner yard care equipment began when a customer asked about organic lawn care back in 2007. That conversation sparked Diamond Cut’s willingness to test battery-powered equipment in 2019 and, most recently, progress to solar-powered lawn equipment in 2020. Adam saw the shift as an opportunity—another way to differentiate Diamond Cut from other local companies, and a chance to make a practical difference, both for the company’s workers and the neighborhoods and families whose homes and businesses they serviced.
Most lawn equipment used in the United States today is powered by fossil fuel. Although the machines themselves use a relatively small amount of gas, their massive climate and emissions impacts far outweigh any benefits, especially when you consider that nearly 54 million Americans mow their lawns every weekend. And, because traditional yard care equipment burns fossil fuel to operate, it emits harmful gases like carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides. These emissions burden the climate and dramatically reduce the quality of the air we breathe, with impacts disproportionately falling on kids, older adults, and Black and Indigenous Minnesotans and other communities of color. We talk more about the unequal risks of air pollution in this blog post.
That’s where electric-powered equipment comes in.
Making working conditions ideal is important to Adam. Not only is electric equipment quieter and lighter—it also doesn’t emit fumes, making it a healthier option for Adam’s employees. What’s more, improvements in technology over the years have helped ensure that Diamond Cut doesn’t sacrifice durability by using electric equipment, a key component of servicing lawns five days a week during peak season.
In 2018, the company had just a few pieces of electric equipment. Adam says that, in 2019, as Diamond Cut began using battery-powered equipment more frequently, they brought spare batteries on the go—storing them loose in the back of the truck. The tough part was that, once the batteries ran out, that was it for the day. Fortunately, Adam was about to see the light.
That winter, he installed a rooftop solar array on his family home, and it planted a seed: what if he put the same rooftop solar panels on Diamond Cut’s equipment trailer? Integrating solar panels into the trailer structure would provide all the backup energy supply Diamond Cut would need to recharge batteries on-the-go. The maintenance trailer is outfitted with a 640W solar array, capable of powering the electric equipment while parked at a customer property. Then, if necessary, equipment batteries are fully recharged at night from energy supplied by a 10.54kW rooftop array.
Customer feedback has been a bit of a spectrum. People appreciate how quiet the electric equipment is, and they appreciate that there aren’t any gas fumes filling the neighborhood air. Yet, Adam says most people don’t even ask if the electric tools are as effective as their more well-known gas-powered counterparts. Customers—and Minnesotans in general—still have a lot to learn about the quality and reliability of electric equipment. Many people don’t realize just how good the quality has become, Adam says. But Diamond Cut is proving that electric equipment is up to the task, one yard at a time.
Plus, Adam thinks the tides are turning—and with 18 years in the business, he would know! Whether you’re a homeowner who needs lawn servicing or is looking to make a transition to electric equipment, a lawn care service provider who’s considered shifting the company fleet, or you own or manage the grounds of a business, apartment complex, or place of worship, Adam says there’s one thing the Diamond Cut electric evolution can tell you: “People shouldn’t be apprehensive about giving electric yard equipment a try. I think they’re really going to be pleased with the results.”
A key piece of Fresh Energy’s work is leading the transition from oil and gas to clean, renewable electricity that powers our homes, cars, and buses. Shifting to electric tools, family vehicles, and public transportation will help Minnesota double our carbon reductions economy-wide while also improving the quality of life in communities currently burdened by air pollution. That means a cleaner, brighter future for all Minnesotans to enjoy—and it begins with something as simple and practical as electric yard care.
Does the home, business, apartment complex, or place of worship you own or manage have a lawn in need of servicing? Get in touch with Adam St. Pierre at Diamond Cut Lawn Care. And, head to our Go Electric page for a variety of resources on the most practical ways to cut your dependence on fossil fuel and electrify your life—one appliance, vehicle, and tool at a time.