East Peoria, IL
Beginning in 2008, Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. began implementing a phased ecological restoration plan converting traditional high-maintenance landscaping to low-maintenance native landscaping and converted existing lawn to native prairie. In converting lawn areas into native Buffalo Grass lawns, Caterpillar, Inc. eliminated the need for irrigation and reduced its mowing burden significantly. New phases of the plan for the East Peoria headquarters continue to be implemented while comprehensive stewardship services continue on the previously converted portions.
In converting the traditional lawn to native Illinois prairie, Caterpillar has reduced the amount of capital dollars being spent on landscape maintenance. Until the spring of 2008, Caterpillar was spending more than approximately $5000.00 per acre, to conduct landscape maintenance tasks on the areas of lawn throughout the campus. Currently, costs to steward the now well established native prairie landscapes are in the range of $1650.00 per acre. Caterpillar is using this 67% reduction in maintenance costs to its advantage, by reinvesting the saving into converting roadside swales, parking lot islands and traditional landscape areas to low maintenance native landscapes. Further saving more maintenance costs and beautifying the corporate campus.
It’s not all about dollars and cents for Caterpillar, the conversion of expansive turf grass areas and traditional landscapes, to sustainable native landscapes has proved to have fringe benefits. Employees enjoy flora and fauna native to the area that are not normally seen in industrial settings such as this and employees have taken notice and are utilizing the areas during lunch breaks and after work. A tour of the area will reveal newly constructed signs acknowledging the restoration efforts and commitment of Caterpillar to sustainable landscapes and native prairie restoration.