It’s what we do and how we do it.

NLS IMPACT began in 2012/13 as a series of sustainability initiatives, including green waste recycling, use of electric and propane-powered equipment and programs in support of LEED certifications.

Our IMPACT programming has since expanded beyond the environmental realm, to encompass all of the initiatives we pursue that are explicitly intended to upend “business as usual.” Listed below are some highlights, and others can be found in our News section.

Water Management

We take an aggressive, multi-pronged approach to conserve water resources. Using technology, we saved more than 16 million gallons of water between 2012 and 2014 after we switched to a computer-driven, smart watering system, called Maxicom. Maxicom runs on real-time data from an on-site weather station to ensure water is applied in the most efficient, horticulturally correct manner. We expect to continue reducing our relative water consumption by up to 4% each year.

When we design new landscape programs, our design team specifies plants best suited for their environmental circumstances, taking into account competition, water needs and usability. And on the maintenance side, we eliminate unnecessary turf, protect significant trees, and insulate planter beds with moisture-retaining mulch, among other strategies.

Composting Green Waste

Everyday we’re asked, “What do you guys do with all that stuff?” That stuff is approximately 22,000 cubic yards of green waste per year. (Imagine 2,700 dump trucks lined up at your compost center.) In Fall 2014, we made the commitment to “close the loop” on the material we were removing from client properties and to recycle 100% of it.

As of Fall 2015, we are nearing our goal, having implemented our own Aerate Static Pile (ASP) composting system at our Woodinville facility. The ASP system induces airflow through the material via electric blowers. Using controlled aeration, we can create and control aerobic conditions and temperatures throughout the compost pile. This accelerates the composting process and yields a high-quality product that is effectively free of pathogens, parasites, and weed seeds. It’s this superior compost product that we are now using on all client properties.

AIM

AIM stands for “Asset Inventory Management.” It’s a proprietary system of software and hardware designed to help document, track and manage landscape assets on any given property. From trees to turf, irrigation fixtures to benches – virtually any amenity of value – AIM helps us identify and manage the asset’s lifecycle. The hard data that AIM provides eliminates guesswork and enables our teams to be even more proactive and effective. In addition, we’re able to share this actionable data with clients so they can plan and manage budgets, prioritize expenditures and develop custom reports for their own internal needs.

Alternative Fuels

In 2012, as part of a feasibility study on alternative fuel sources, we audited our fuel consumption for our truck fleet, our mowers and our handheld power equipment. What began as an intention to rollout a few hybrid-electric vehicles, turned into a company-wide, multi-client initiative to reduce our carbon footprint, and radically change our service delivery across regions, districts and specific client properties.

As of 2015 we have a dozen electric vehicles in use, we have converted our fleet of large mowers to run on propane; and many of our handheld tools are now electric. Additionally, in partnership with specific clients, we have created on-site infrastructure to support a comprehensive sustainability-oriented service plan.

Technology

While the AIM program represents significant innovation, there are other operational areas where we are leveraging technology to enhance the value and experience we provide to our clients. Examples include: a cloud-based platform to more accurately estimate and track project costs, along with a mobile field application; expanded use of SalesForce proposal tracking capabilities, paired with the DocuSign contract management tool; design software to support our expanded design capabilities; and an enhanced GPS-tracking system that allows us to more accurately pinpoint and track client property assets – valuable data and information they can use in their own planning and budgeting processes.

Supported Employment

We are committed to a more inclusive workplace and helping people with developmental disabilities find meaningful work. This powerful program happens in partnership with our clients, as well as a specialized placement agency that provides training and support. The program makes a huge difference in the lives of the individuals we employ, makes a positive impact on multiple communities and challenges our team to realize new ways to work together.