“Marketing tricks and television advertising do their best to convince us that in order to become more eco-friendly, we have to buy more stuff—but that’s not true. If you replace a perfectly good item just to buy a new eco-friendly one, you aren’t really doing anything to benefit the environment.” Schillinger is a registered environmental assessor and president of ReComply, an environment records management company.
Schillinger’s presentation, Going Green Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive, discussed 101 ways that shops can save money by practicing green. (See abbreviated list below). The talk helped attendees understand what it means to ‘go green’ and how to be a good environmental steward, what sustainability, energy conservation and pollution prevention means, and that shops can’t manage what isn’t measured, such as carbon footprint = greenhouse gas. Sustainability is defined at a condition which natural and social systems survive and thrive together indefinitely.
Schillinger said that a carbon footprint verifies the environmental condition, or reduction, of greenhouse gases, in a shop. The amount of greenhouse gas created in a shop is caused 70% from energy use, 10% from consumption of metal, wood and plastic, 15% from waste, such as paint, solvent, soap and trash and only 5% is from VOCs and other chemicals.
The energy used in a typical collision repair shop includes 33% for the spray booth, 31% for lighting, 18% for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, 12% for miscellaneous and 6% for the air compressor.
For an idea of how much GHG (greenhouse gas) pollution cars create, envision 65 million cars on United States roads, with an average car emitting five tons of carbon dioxide each year, Schillinger said.
Benefits of going green include receiving tax credits, 30-year shared savings funding, discounts, rate reduction or rebates with the local utility, reduced workers’ comp insurance and business insurance, and promotion by your local city.
To attain recognition for being a green shop, go to www.findgreengarage.com, a public service website. For more information about going green, see the Federal Trade Commission website to download free copies of FTC green guides at: www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/10/greenguides.shtm.
Businesses who promote or advertise themselves as ‘green’ need to prove it with hard evidence. A lack of proof is called ‘greenwashing.’ Those companies who ‘greenwash’ hide the hidden trade-off, have no proof, are vague, incorporate irrelevant practices or outright lie.
Currently in progress is a Energy Star Green Garage Challenge sponsored by the EPA. This program encourages consumers to use repair shops that have attained green certification under official government programs. Automotive industry suppliers, associations and organizations compete for prominent mapping position based on improved energy performance and greenhouse gas reduction. For more information on the Green Garage Campaign, go to www.GreenGarageChallenge.com.
Within the website is an energy tracking tool called Track Green Garage, an automated system that collects and reports electronic data acquired from local utility companies and suppliers. The Energy Star-based data processing procedure converts electricity, gas, water and waste usage into greenhouse gas ‘GHG’ metrics. The metrics are compared to a previous period on a time-weighted-work average basis to determine a more or less percent of green sustainability.