ParkTalk Podcast

S25 Episode 02 – Driving a Cleaner, Greener Fleet

Lee Meyer, a fleet technician for the Naperville Park District, explains the latest improvements that make the District's vehicles and equipment cleaner, greener, safer and more efficient.  

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series, click here.

Quote from the episode:

About reducing the District's carbon footprint:

“We have purchased a fully electric zero-turn (mower)…and we are going to order two more. We also have a plug-in hybrid to replace one of the park police squad cars. It uses a battery, which you have charged overnight, and then the engine is the backup, instead of being the other way around. So you will never be stranded. We also have 3 battery-operated snow blowers, and 8 electric string trimmers. We are completely eliminating carbon emissions with these machines.” – Lee Meyer

About the District's tractor that runs on leftover vegetable oil:

“Reggie the Veggie tractor was a little pipe dream we had a few years back.  We trialed and errored with one of the older tractors in the fleet and we converted it to run on vegetable oil and diesel. We get the vegetable oil from the Riverwalk Café or the Beach (Centennial Grill) or whoever has extra.  It runs on diesel fuel when you start it, and engine coolant runs through the vegetable oil to heat it and thin it so it flows easily. Once it gets nice and thin and to the full temperature on the gauge, we flip a switch and it switches right over to vegetable oil and starts smelling like French fries and chicken nuggets.” - Lee Meyer

The Naperville Park District's Reggie the Veggie tractor makes a regular appearance at the Wonderful World of Wheels event each year, in addition to continuing its work in maintaining Park District fields.

Visit the District's Green Initiatives page for more information about the Park District's environmental sustainability practices.

Reggie the Veggie tractor parked at the Knoch Park Central Maintenance Facility ready for its work

One of the Park District's fully electric Mean Green zero turn mowers