Specifications: Working for You and Your Landscape, or … Not?

ELMPost

 Find yourself in discussions (or arguments) on how you and landscape services providers “interpret” portions of your spec? Find your site is “settling” for something in-between what you wanted and what the provider bid? When was the last time you updated your landscape maintenance specifications? If it’s been more than four-to-five years – your landscape has been growing and changing, so shouldn’t your spec change too?

Continue reading “Specifications: Working for You and Your Landscape, or … Not?”

Warning: Your De-icing Plan Could be Hazardous to the Environment

One of the biggest challenges for salt and snow crews during harsh winter weather and severe snow, is balancing the need for safety and response time to client sites while providing a cost effective service. And, with that, comes growing concern about what happens to the salt that coats roadways and walkways when the residual inevitably stays in the environment.

As we head into the heart of the winter season (mid-January to the end of February being the snowiest in CT, in particular), ELM is stocked and ready to go with plenty of the white stuff – not snow, but approximately 1,200 tons of our own environmentally-friendly road salt.

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Significant amounts of salt is needed to keep grounds ice-free. In fact, about 275 to 350 tons of salt is used by ELM crews in a typical three- to-five inch snowstorm in Westchester, New Haven and Fairfield counties alone. With that in mind, protecting landscape investments is top priority.

At our yard, we mix liquid additives to salt to improve its potency for the safety of our clients’ sites. Calcium chloride provides efficacy in low temps when salt becomes ineffective; pulverized and liquefied tree roots diminishes the environmental impact of the mix; and a corrosion preventer additive lessens damage to hard surfaces. A liquid ingredient also triggers a quicker reaction to snow and ice, plus binds to the pavement to prevent a slippery glaze of ice and snow.

The End Result?
A high-quality product that reduces the amount of salt needed on the ground by nearly 30 percent! This, in turn, lends itself to a lower cost to our clients and less environmental impact all while improving performance during cold winter temperatures – so your business can be kept running safely no matter the weather. A win-win all around!

So, before the predictions of the heavy snowstorms that will overcompensate for the mild winter thus far come true, it makes sense to have a snow removal plan in place. An experienced and eco-friendly snow service provider can design a custom plan that ensures safety and combats environmental damage.

Tell Us
What’s most important to your business when it comes to snow removal this winter?

Proud Sponsor of the March of Dimes Real Estate Awards Breakfast

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ELM is proud to announce that we are a Bronze sponsor of the local March of Dimes Real Estate Awards Breakfast to be held on Thursday, December 11th at The Hilton Stamford!

ELM will donate approximately 80 poinsettias for table center pieces. This is a “must attend” event for any company involved in Fairfield County real estate. Don’t miss it!

CLICK HERE TO ATTEND THE BREAKFAST OR LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EVENT

GameChangers in Fairfield and Westchester Coming Soon!

 

 Westchester & Fairfield GameChangers – Coming Soon!

 

How did they change the real estate landscape?

What were the obstacles?

What’s planned for the future?

Come meet the experts!

 

Anytime industry leaders and visionaries share their expertise and insight, it’s a vital learning opportunity not to be missed.  ELM is pleased to be a sponsor and invites you to join us at the upcoming GameChangers panel discussion, followed by your opportunity to ask questions of the distinguished experts.

 

We look forward to seeing you in Rye on Sept 17th or Darien on the 18th.  Please click on the below link to learn more and register.

http://westfaironline.com/game-changers/

Off Season Training

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In today’s world, the best athletes have a rigorous off season training program to be fully ready for the competition of game time.  It’s the same thing for our snow services team. Even though winter is three to four months out, ELM is honing our skills and improving our operational models.

ELM Area Manager, Peter Bezzini has just earned his ASM Credential from Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA).  Peter’s ASM – Advanced Snow Manager – Credential is the fruition of his studies and successful testing in four individual courses – Core Principles, Plowing Operations, Sidewalk Operations and Ice Management.  Fulfilling the requirements of each course merits the ASM designation.

Peter shares “it was eye opening training for me. The budgets and especially the risk and liability factors associated with snow and ice services are significant for our clients. Every event is different; timing, amounts, frozen precipitation all mean we must pre- plan for and execute several site specific snow plans to have our properties open and safe in a timely fashion.”

He adds “SIMA has done a great job in assembling best practices and processes.  I’m looking forward to integrating these into ELM’s approach and continuing to improve on our long standing reputation for excellence in snow removal in Fairfield and Westchester Counties.”

Over the next few weeks, Peter will be leading training sessions for our team members as ELM prepares for the upcoming winter.  It’s part of our “off season” training to be the best.

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GREEN INITIATIVE – GREEN GRASS

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Commercial building owners and managers are constantly seeking to heighten their competitive edge thru offering a better facility while holding or reducing costs.  Here in Westchester and Fairfield counties, this usually goes hand in hand with various LEED and Green Building initiatives.  Today’s prospective tenants often inquire about the prospective buildings current green footprint and future plans.

After the large projects are complete – HVAC, plumbing, lighting-where to turn?  A look outside will reveal an area where building owners and managers can reap many benefits. The irrigation system at your building may be old and inefficient.  New technology in the past few years can significantly leverage irrigation systems recently installed.

In May’s issue of “BUILDINGS” Magazine, senior editor Janelle Penny turns the focus of the Greener Facilities monthly article to irrigation.

Here are the key takeaways from her article “Keep Your Grass Lush for Less”

“Maybe it’s time to add smart landscape sensors to your arsenal.  These devices interact with your existing irrigation system to put water where it counts and when it’s needed, rather than leaving all the work to a simple timer that waters your lawn daily regardless of weather conditions.  By ensuring that you it, a suite of sensors helps cut down on wasted water.

 

To truly wring every drop of efficiency out of your landscape practices, the EPA recommends installing a separate water meter to measure how much water you’re applying to the landscape – this will give you greater insight and could provide additional sources of savings.

 

Performance results naturally vary depending on climate, landscape, variations in weather, and other factors, but the EPA provided BUILDINGS with a handful of real-world examples to illustrate the spectrum of potential savings:

  • Water-efficient sprinkler technologies can reduce water use by as much as 30% when compared to standard pop-up sprinklers.
  • Properly installing a WaterSense-labeled, weather-based irrigation water use by 15%.
  • A project in Florida demonstrated a savings of 13,567 gallons every time a rain sensor prevented an irrigation event on half an acre of landscape.
  • Turf plot studies demonstrated that water savings from soil moisture sensors ranges anywhere from 4-88%.”

 

While the first reaction may be you don’t have a half acre in Florida, the numbers add up just as fast when you realize you have 2,4, 6 acres in CT or NY.  Savings like these are real and documented.  It all adds up to a great equation—water savings puts cash back in the budget, bolsters your green initiative footprint, impresses prospective tenants and delivers a healthier landscape.

References:
Buildings Magazine, Issue 05.14
Article: Keep Your Grass Lush for Less

 

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Showtime!

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Fine weather is here and everyone welcomes the kickoff of summer annual flower season.  This is an exciting time of year as the visual and vibrant accent to commercial sites and properties throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties arrives.  For many sites, this is the icing on the cake.

What seems to be an instant transformation began in mid-December as our custom growers planted seeds or small cuttings in their greenhouses.  ELM works closely with our grower partners on sizes, mixes and combinations and most importantly a fully sized plant with excellent root mass.  Once we are out of frost warnings, which came a bit late this year, we begin to prep and groom the beds for flowers.  If bulbs are spent, they are pulled out or naturalized into perimeter areas.  Rototilling comes next and is perhaps the key overall component which provides for root growth and water transfer.  Add some quality fertilizer and everything is in place.

Facility managers and property managers receive a lot of compliments from our flower displays.  Employees, tenants, visitors and stakeholders enjoy the colorful accents to site entries, building entries, signage and outdoor areas like patios and plazas.  Large containers of color can provide a visible and colorful draw to your main entry.

Often we are asked how we develop the wow factor to our flower displays.  It’s the unique blend of the above recipe with our design experience and horticultural knowledge.  ELM works closely with our clients to bring a unique blend of color, varying heights, specie mixes and texture highlights. For some commercial properties, it can be simple theme.  For other sites, our clients request new and ever-changing displays each year.  Either way, quality plants, quality installation and eye catching design…that’s the ELM recipe.

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Cutting Edge Innovation

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Innovation and early adoption of new trends and technology keep ELM on the cutting edge…literally. A new part of our fleet of mowers are propane fueled and the benefits are many.  As the climate change debate goes on, one thing for sure is propane mowers cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50-70% over traditional gas powered mowers.

The risk of spilling just a few drops of gas is totally negated, preventing runoff into catch basins and the water system.  And, propane is 100% made in the USA.  Propane is a cleaner burn in the engine and we will be studying wear and tear to see if this equates longer engine life.  If propane proves to add a year or two, this adds up to further carbon footprint reduction (prolonging the machine disposal) and potential cost savings to be passed on to the client.

The most important function remains a great looking cut in a timely fashion.  Nick Siranhula, a sixteen veteran pictured here on the job, sees no change to the overall power which drives the blade speed, resulting in a crisp, quality cut.

Nick is pleased with the quality.  ELM is excited to be making a difference for our clients and the community in reducing our carbon footprint with an American made fuel source.  Propane mowers…what’s not to like?

Your Turf Is Hungry!

Pic for Fall Fert

Now that spring is here, landscapes throughout Westchester and Fairfield counties are waking up.  The largest component of most commercial properties frequently is the turf.  Facility and property managers know when the turf looks good, a critical part of your landscape presentation is working for you.

After a record long cold spell along with spring’s wake up call, your turf is hungry!  Spring fertilization is the key to building up your turf’s fertility level in preparation for the hot summer ahead.  This is the time to get the key nutrients down to reach the root zone and go to work.

Each commercial property is different—shady zones, sunny zones, irrigated areas and non-irrigated areas are all part of choosing the right fertilizer application.  Most important though is a soil test.  Using a soil probe, representative soil samples are sent to a laboratory for a fertility and mineral analysis.  The results, in the hands of a landscape professional, become the blueprint for selecting a fertility plan which best matches your property’s unique soil structure and turf needs.

Yes, your turf is hungry.  Making the right fertility selection based on soil test data will definitely pay visual dividends in showcasing your landscape’s largest asset.