Tag: green business
Green building and design is more important now than it ever has been. With the climate changes an ever-present problem it’s important to get ahead the issue and start teaching children about how to mitigate damages through careful green practices. A mom at Torrance Elementary School saw an ad that mentioned Pacific Audi as a recipient of the Leed Gold Certification and decided that would be an excellent field-trip opportunity for the children of the school.
Reaching out to Audi
The mom got in touch with Alisha Auringer, the manager of the of the Environment for LAcarGUY and requested a field trip for the children. A full tour was set up for the children, giving them an opportunity to see how businesses can reduce their impact, while also seeing what goes on behind the closed doors of an automotive dealership and garage.
The Field Trip
The field trip consisted of a tour through the Service and Shop department of the Audi dealership as well as a look around the rest of the dealership facilities to see how green practices are put into place. The children were able to learn how cars are taken care of at the facility and to get a cool behind the scenes look at the day-to-day functioning of the company. Not only that but they even got an up-close look at the awe-inspiring Audi R8 as the team fired it up for the children.
At the end of the day the children went home with Eco penicillin sets and reusable LAcarGUY tote bags and a bunch of stories to share with their families about the practices of the car dealership and about green technology in general.
It’s these types of events that will help children learn to respect the environment more, and to understand businesses with healthy green practices and others that pollute the environment.
Let’s go inside our buildings this week, shall we? It’s time for floors and ceilings, and that continues a topic we’ve mentioned a couple times, but is one of the most important, and most addressable, parts of building green: Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs.
As noted in the last post, Volatile Organic Compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids in a wide array of products, and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Besides wall-coverings, floors and ceilings have historically been big offenders.
Out of the gate, we want to let you know that our building will meet the LEED criteria for VOCs under the “Low-Emitting Materials” sections for Adhesives & Sealants, Flooring Systems, and of course, Paints & Coatings (last post).
From concrete, tile (ceramic, porcelain and stone) and wood used to the adhesive sealants, grout and architectural applications and finishes…we are right on track with LEED VOC requirements! We’re pretty excited about our variety of cool flooring and thought we’d share just a few because these are things you could also consider for your own work or home:
- InterfaceFlor, which produces carpeting, may well be a company you’ve heard of prior. Founder/CEO Ray Anderson was a revolutionary in deciding to make his company much more responsible beginning in 1994. Carpeting was traditionally extremely toxic – from how it was created to how it was installed – off-gassing a lot, emitting VOCs and being a main contributor to “sick building syndrome”. Ray took it upon himself to change his and his company’s behavior, and show that they could be environmentally responsible and still profitable. He made the business case for sustainability and in the process, changed an entire industry. So we’re proud to be using an Interface product in a chic Charcoal color. Green Label Plus Certified, their materials can really impact Indoor Air Quality.
- Porcelain tile Fiandre in Silver is another beautiful product we’ll be using! Fiandre is an environmentally progressive porcelain tile manufacturer, and more and more such companies are changing their processes to be more sustainable. Fiandre in 2003 even constructed a new facility in Tennessee using state-of-the-art environmental technology that ensured a sustainable manufacturing process right from the plant’s opening. More HERE.
- Germany’s Bergland-Parkett’s wood flooring can be seen in Audi showrooms and offices worldwide (remember, Audi is German!). The company’s environmental philosophy and actions include use of modern, low emission trucks and short-distance transport, 100% toxic-free product, ecological finishes, and raw material bought from PEFC controlled forests. We can’t wait to see it installed right here in Hawthorne!
- Now who thinks of the ‘foot grille’ at the entrance? We use it to wipe our feet. We’re using Ultra Entry which is 30% pre-consumer recycled vinyl with nylon. But think of what it does. When we enter our homes/offices, everything on the bottom of our shoes is carried in—from plain old dirt, to toxins. If you can’t take off your shoes (kind of silly if you are in a business), then it’s really important to scrape off well as much debris and moisture as possible.
In the showroom our ceiling is going to be simple, elegant tiles that contain no VOCs and recycled content of 23%. And in our service area, a truss ceiling (see picture), very open design. We hope you check EVERYTHING out closely when you come in!
B Corps is a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. The Sustainable Business Council of Los Angeles (SBCLA) invites you to an evening of discussion on how to forge a successful B Corps. The event will feature:
- Networking opportunities with highly-experienced B Corps executives
- Informative panel discussions with experts on the process and benefits of B Corps
- Showcase of B Corps products and services
- Raffle drawing for exciting prizes
The event takes place between 7:00-9:00 pm on Wednesday, October 10th 2012 at Lexus Santa Monica located at 1501 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404.
Please RSVP here.
SBC Board Members
Steve Glenn-(Chair,) Laura Berland-Shane, Rob Kramer,
Lee Wallach, Becki Kammerling, Carrie Norton
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Lexus Santa Monica
1501 Santa Monica Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Water is increasingly (and rightfully) such a hot topic everywhere…and definitely in SoCal!
So one can imagine this is a big part of our LEED plans at the new Pacific Audi showroom. And we’ll certainly discuss the exterior water use…but in a later post. For now, let’s go inside.
There are a couple really cool things our brilliant team is doing.
First, water heaters. There is much talk these days about “tankless water heaters”. But every situation is different.
The idea behind a tankless system is that it heats the water as you need it, instead of continually heating water stored in a tank.* Popular in Europe and Japan for a long time, they have been gaining more U.S. ground over the last few years, and can be greatly efficient. (If you want to find out more about tankless water heaters, click HERE.)
In Pacific Audi’s case, we decided to go with a high-efficiency water heater (not tankless), also known as a “hybrid heat pump.” Why? Mainly because we didn’t have sufficient access to natural gas, so we went the super-efficient electric route. This kind of water heater works much like a refrigerator in reverse. The heat pump extracts the heat from warm air, intensifies the heat with a compressor, delivers the heat to the water, and exhausts the cooler air. It uses the warm ambient air temperature to do most of the work. Pretty efficient, which means energy (and financial!) savings, AND we get some “Energy Efficiency” points in the LEED system for this!
To actually see how it works, check out the cool interactive graphic from Rheem, HERE.
Next we head on to “water efficiency”, through the other plumbing fixtures on site. We measure our use of water through these fixtures against the LEED scorecard. To be LEED, you automatically need to beat the U.S. Green Building Council’s baseline H20 fixture flow-rates by 20%. So, we will be getting LEED “water savings credit” because what we are doing uses less water than the baseline.
- With “flush” fixtures alone we achieve nearly a 30% water savings in general!
- Water closets (toilets) will flush at a rate of 1.28 gallons per flush, whereas the baseline is set at 1.6 gallons per flush
- Urinals will flush at a rate of 0.125 gallons per flush, whereas the baseline is set at 1.0 gallons per flush.
- Showers will operate at a rate of 2.0 gallons per minute, whereas the baseline is set at 2.5 gallons per minute.
Additionally, we will meet baseline on lavatory and sink faucets. The best part: The flushing fixtures and faucets in the restrooms are battery powered, sensor operated, so they are designed only to be used when someone is actually present and in the case of the faucets, and won’t be left on continually. As an added attention to the smallest detail (and being who we are, we DO love the details!), the flush valves and faucets have a solar component to them. Any natural or artificial light source will generate enough energy to operate the sensor, therefore extending battery life! Cool and smart, no? We thought so…and that’s our M.O.
NOTE: Check out DWELL ON DESIGN on June 22-24. Includes talks on water efficiency and Kitchen & Bath exhibitors, and so much more! And the EcoFabulous house is always a treat.
The topic of “storm water” pollution is a fascinating, but involved topic, especially here in Los Angeles. Of course, water itself being the overriding issue, and keeping storm water runoff clean as possible, while controlling flooding, is one of L.A.’s biggest ongoing issues.
So, what IS “storm water” runoff? According to L.A. Stormwater, Storm water Pollution is “when water from rainstorms, garden hoses and sprinklers causes runoff that collects harmful debris and flows through local creeks, rivers and lakes – eventually draining, untreated, into the ocean.” They add: “Even on the driest day in Southern California, tens of millions of gallons of contaminated water and debris flow through our local creeks, rivers and lakes and into Santa Monica and San Pedro Bays. On a rainy day, the flow can increase to as much as 10 billion gallons.” And finally, storm water flows “do not receive any treatment because of the sheer volume of runoff.”
Funny as it sounds, dirt is actually the best cleaner or filter, of pollution. It’s called the “natural earth method” of cleaning. But now that we, as a society, have paved over so much, we have to do other creative things to accomplish a similar end result.
Pacific Audi takes this issue very seriously. And in line with our LEED goals, two objectives stand out: controlling both the quantity and quality of the water leaving the site, in order to keep our ocean clean.
We are building underground storage chambers to store initial runoff, and all runoff from the site drains to this. But before the water gets there, it goes through a sort of “Treatment Train”. Here’s how it works:
■ Runoff at Pacific Audi can include anything from brake dust coming off cars to oil to plant food our gardener uses to treat on-site plants.
■ Water washes all these “pollutants of concern” (and many more) through grated inlets into a “pre-treatment” area just below the pavement. This first porous “catch basin” area (kind of like a sock) is Level One, catching bigger things like leaves, cigarette butts, oils, etc. Now fewer contaminants need to be cleaned by the “natural earth method”, which is next.
■ Level Two in this “Treatment Train” is the “natural earth method” of cleaning, meaning the runoff seeps, or percolates through the earth, which naturally removes contaminants. Think of water going through the grinds in a coffee machine, and you have the general idea.
■ The cleaned-up water now lands in the “infiltration chamber”, basically replenishing the aquifer underground. Our chamber volume is an impressive 4269 cubit feet, but based on calculations, it wouldn’t need to hold more than about 3400 cubic feet at any one time because the rest soaks into the sandy soil at the very bottom.
■ The water will percolate into the ground for the life of the project, with water seeping into the ground within 2 days of a rainstorm stopping.
If we happen to have one of those massive rainstorms that we get so rarely, studies show that the ‘pollutants of concern’ will be washed into this natural cleaning system with the first ¾” of rain, and then any overflow into the public street would be relatively clean.
All this is a result of the Standard Urban Storm Water Mitigation Plan (SUSMP), the statewide water quality criteria developed as part of the municipal storm water program. We are proud to say that our voluntary LEED participation will be taking us 22% above required state water quality standards!
The Sustainable Business Council (SBC) recently announced the Inaugural SBC Industry Achievement Awards recipients during an awards ceremony attended by preeminent sustainable business leaders from throughout Southern California. Five Inaugural SBC Giving Tree Awards trophies that are Ficus Bonsai in Bamboo planters, to coincide with Earth Day and be symbolic of the event’s sustainable message, were presented during the award’s ceremony.
SBC’s Sustainable Business Award results were a tie. The two recipients have impressive sustainability credentials. The Miyako Hybrid Hotel is a Silver LEED certified hotel built to show that business, luxury services and green facilities and operations are not mutually exclusive.
As a business located in the city of Los Angeles, with an active Sustainable City Plan implemented in 1994, LAcarGUY commits to conducting business in a manner that safeguards health, protects the environment and conserves valuable materials and resources.
LAcarGUY won SBC Sustainable Business Award because we are a business that is a leading contributor to the Southern California economy and society. Our sustainable achievements are acknowledged by the general public, scholars, critics and peers. LAcarGUY continues to advance the sustainable business industry.
With the recent flooding throughout the northeast United States, the importance of storm water management is even more paramount. That is why Subaru of America has taken the initiative to install two rain gardens, the first of which was installed on October 13 at at company headquarters in Cherry Hill. The second one will be installed sometime this month at the offices in Pennsauken, NJ. These two rain gardens will help reduce runoff, including nutrients and pollutants, into surrounding rivers and streams, such as the Cooper River that runs along the edge of the Subaru headquarters grounds. Subaru worked in partnership with the Camden County Soil Conservation District and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Rutgers University to install the rain gardens.
Rain gardens are shallow depressions in lawns and fields that collect rainwater, which then percolates down through layers of rock, gravel or other drainage. The gardens are landscaped with native plants, which beautifies the area and helps minimize maintenance. While rain gardens are becoming more common in new construction, the Subaru rain gardens are some of the first in New Jersey to be retrofitted to corporate grounds.
“Subaru is pleased to be among the first companies in New Jersey to retrofit a rain garden–or two–at our corporate buildings,” notes Tom Doll, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc. “The rain gardens will certainly benefit the streams and rivers around those buildings, but just as importantly, they’ll help educate our employees, our corporate neighbors, and the public about the importance of storm water management.”
“Retrofitting a corporate landscape to include a rain garden is an effective way to help improve water quality,” said Craig McGee, project director, Camden County Soil Conservation District.” The rain garden will allow rain water to soak into the ground instead of runoff to the streams and rivers, and at the same time provide a valuable landscape enhancement. The best part is Subaru employees and customers will learn how easy it is to install a rain garden at their home and do their part to help protect our water resources.”
“Rain gardens are an effective way to reduce routine maintenance costs while protecting the environment and improving water quality,” adds Jeremiah Bergstrom, senior project manager, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Rutgers University. “Working with corporate partners such as Subaru of America is a great way to demonstrate how rain gardens can be effective for businesses, communities, and even homeowners.”
LAcarGUY doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to living green, we embrace it with arms wide open! Over the years we have done many things to help minimize our carbon footprint, and with our new Open Charging Stations, helping others as well.
For the Holiday Season LAcarGUY are working with Sustainable Works to have Zero Waste BBQ’s at all ten of our dealerships and state-of-the-art body centers. We are not only leading by example, but also teaching others to follow in our footsteps as well.
In 2008, LAcarGUY completed the Sustainable Works Business Greening Program, which resulted in a fifty percent landfill waste reduction after implementing companywide recycling programs.
In working with Sustainable Works we are able to divert more than 90% of the waste generated for the holiday BBQ’s from landfills by recycling and composting.
We’d like to thank those that joined us this year at our events and are always looking for suggestions of how we can be more responsible to the environment, we look forward to doing even more great things in 2011.