As an arboricultural company, SavATree has direct and daily involvement with the natural environment. Our commitment to (and expertise in) environmentally sensible arboricultural practices and ingredients are key elements of our competitive advantage. It’s why many of our more than 100,000 eco-minded customers chose us in the first place, and why they stay.
SavATree’s deeply-held “green” ethos extends to the ways in which we operate our business. We continue to implement changes that reduce the carbon footprint of our day-to-day operations. We also seek opportunities to leverage the considerable expertise of our staff, particularly within our Consulting Group, to assist in large, high-impact environmental stewardship projects at the municipal, state, and national level.
Reduced Carbon Emissions
Reduction in Fuel Consumption: Our Fleet
Since SavATree delivers onsite services to residential and commercial properties, it is important that our more than 1,000 vehicles are routed and operated efficiently and responsibly.
SavATree has worked to lower the fossil fuel consumption on each service visit by our field crews, using a fuel-per-delivered-service metric to monitor progress in this area. These current initiatives include:
- a no-idling policy for trucks;
- increasing route density (the number of customers within a geographic area) served by each field team to decrease drive-miles of crews and supervisory staff;
- using route optimization technology to minimize miles driven, and traffic-induced idling, by each field team;
- reducing redundant truck-miles by piggy‐backing SavATree services delivered to the same location (e.g., having lawncare services as well as tree/shrub health services performed during a single client visit)
- improving fuel efficiency by upgrading trucks (e.g., by installing pony motors), and requiring frequent fleet maintenance checklists.
Results to date: SavATree reduced fuel-used-per-delivered-service by 10.6% from 2019 to 2020.
Since converting our lawn care and plant healthcare fleet in 2015, we have reduced fuel consumption by 150k gallons annually. We use Pony Motors as secondary engines on the trucks to allow the operation of the spray equipment without the need to use the large diesel engine that powers the truck. These motors eliminate the need for idling while delivering tree and lawn care services to our customers.
Through our fleet maintenance checklists — e.g., frequent tire-pressure checks, timely preventive maintenance — SavATree has realized a 10% reduction per delivered service in annual fuel consumption.
In 2013, SavATree licensed routing software (originally developed by UPS) that has enabled us to design the most efficient routes possible for our fleet, while maximizing customer service. Through our use of this advanced technology, our field teams can execute their scheduled customer visits with the most efficient sequencing based on locations, fewest number of stops, shortest curb-idling time, and fewest miles driven. Our goal is to reduce total miles driven by 2% annually.
Reduction in Carbon Emissions: Our Equipment
SavATree continues to reduce carbon emissions by transitioning from gas powered to battery operated equipment. In 2019, SavATree rolled out an initiative built around replacing gas-powered handheld equipment with the newest battery powered equipment, that either meets or exceeds the current performance of our gas powered equipment. Each battery (2 per saw) will eliminate the need for 1,000 tanks of fuel over the life of that battery. In 2019, we replaced 14% of our top handle chainsaws. In 2020, we grew that number to 34% and by the end of 2021, we forecast this number to grow to 48%. As the technology continues to advance, we will look to expand this initiative across more of our handheld equipment.
SavATree manages our operations through Lean Sigma principles which require the reduction of waste and inefficiency at all levels of the organization. In both our back-office and in-field operations, we scrupulously avoid defects, overproduction, over-processing, and excessive inventory.
Through the use of secure digital technology, we have retooled our business processes — including payroll administration, accounts payable and receivable, customer portal and e-customer option — to eliminate most of our paper usage. When we must print, we use certified Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) printers.
Our Ingredients: Science-Driven, Environmentally Sensible
As the science evolves, so do the nutrient blends SavATree applies to its customers’ landscapes. And the science of plant care is evolving rapidly. Some of the most exciting research-driven horticultural discoveries have introduced better ways to achieve and maintain healthy and vibrant trees and shrubs with the least ecological intrusion possible.
SavATree’s plant health care division provides fertilization and feeding services featuring a custom mix that includes macro and micro nutrients, as well as organic matter, sea kelp and other “food.” By incorporating sustainable and organic materials that address specific nutrient deficiencies, we are able to apply fewer materials to the soil and plant overall. Breakthroughs in managing and preventing disease and insect pathogens include new rescue treatments and inoculations that can be incorporated into landscape care while remaining consistent with environmentally responsible stewardship.
We test all materials rigorously.
Our rigorous process for selecting the products and ingredients we apply to our clients’ properties is guided firmly and continually by plant science and environmental safety.
Before incorporating any new ingredients into our plant health care programs, we employ a three-tiered protocol to validate their favorable environmental profile, their proven efficacy, and their cost.
All the regulated ingredients used in SavATree plant care programs have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on landscapes. Furthermore, the ingredients used in our organic plant care programs meet the rigorous requirements of the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), the same standards as the production of organic food.
Our product selection and development is informed by agroscience research.
We view our responsible, forward-thinking, and ecologically-sound ingredient selection and product development as critical to our success, and to our company mission. Our program directors monitor the latest research on new plant health products through their ongoing contact with researchers at universities and extension programs across the country, including: Cornell University, University of Maryland, Morton Arboretum, University of Massachusetts, Rutgers University, University of Wisconsin, Penn State, University of Connecticut, Ohio State University, and Purdue University.
We are proud to contribute our subject matter expertise within our industry, adjacent organizations, non-profits and non-government organizations (NGOs). We became the first multi branch company to be accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association for sound business practices and environmental stewardship. We have International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborists on staff, with many possessing state level board certifications too.
We are also proud to hold the following designations:
- Signatory supporter of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership
- Consultant to the US Forest Service Northern Research Station’s Baltimore Urban Field Station
- NGO Partner of The Millennium Reserve
- Project Coordinator for the Baltimore Urban Waters Partnership
- Strategic Partner of the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition
- Collaborator with the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research
- Member of the Chesapeake Bay Program Urban Tree Canopy Expert Panel
- Designated Green Clean Company by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Water Quality Agreement
- Official tree health care provider for the Chicago Botanic Garden
- Official plant health care provider for Historic Hudson Valley collection of properties
- Members of New York Department of Environmental Protection’s (NYDEP) Green Organic Yards, NY
- Recognized by European Union Green Surge initiative as a model green consultancy
- Consultant to US Forest Service Research & Development on urban wood waste recovery and reuse
- Urban forest management planning consultant for Providence, RI, Philadelphia, PA, and Arlington County, VA.