More Popular Than Ever: Certification Programs for 'Green' Shops
With "green" practices being embraced more and more, an increasing number of shops are finding that going green is just a smart way to do business in the 21st century.
From coast to coast, state certification programs for automotive service and collision repair shops to become green are growing. But as a shop owner, how do you go about getting started?
There may be a myriad of reasons why shop owners may want to pursue green certification, including:
• Shop believes that environmental conservation and responsibility is important.
• Shop may be recognized as an environmental leader.
• Shop may see an increase in savings by the improvement of operational efficiency through reduced waste in all its forms.
• Shop may see overall improvement of employee morale, safety and health.
• Shop may have a marketing edge over the competition.
• Shop may have a healthier relationship with regulatory governmental bodies.
• Shop may get free publicity from governmental sources and other agencies that promote green businesses as the preferred places to shop.
Typically, a green business program requires the following to be considered for certification:
• Compliance with all environmental regulations
• Implementation of water conservation practices
• Implementation of energy conservation practices
• Implementation of waste reduction practices
• Implementation of pollution prevention measures to improve overall efficiency and reduce overall waste generation
• Development and implementation of a continuous improvement plan.
Green certification programs are often different, but here are some examples of successful programs in the United States that specifically certify automotive service and collision repair facilities. To find one in your area, check with the state department of environmental quality, other shops in your area that are "green," or use an online search engine and put in keywords such as "auto repair shop and certification" or "automotive and green compliance." Green certification of businesses is rapidly growing and evolving. If your region or state does not have such a program in place for automotive repair, often you can request that a certification program be considered for a particular industry.
• Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) - The six-year-old program is a public-private partnership between the state of Arizona and the Automobile Association of America-Arizona (AAA). The program now includes the Automotive Service Association of Arizona (ASA-Arizona) and the city of Mesa, Ariz.
Shops that participate in the program have found ways to protect the environment and conserve resources through better front-office waste disposal practices, parts management programs, housekeeping, parts cleaning and degreasing, fluid recycling and energy use policies to reduce pollution.
The shops use low-pollution or water-based solvents for cleaning, recycle waste fluids and oil whenever possible, practice spill prevention and save energy with more efficient lighting. They also conserve water by using dry-floor cleanup procedures, maintaining plumbing and installing low-water- use fixtures.
To become certified, auto shops must accumulate at least 300 points on a checklist in various categories such as cleaning and degreasing, and energy conservation created by ADEQ's Pollution Prevention Program.
• New Jersey Green Automotive Repair Program - The New Jersey Green Automotive Repair Program (NJGARP) is a partnership between the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR), the New Jersey Gasoline C-Store Automotive Association (NJGCA), the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) designed to foster greater implementation of "green" practices within the automotive repair sector, and to promote greater recognition of these practices among the citizens of New Jersey.
To become certified, shops must accumulate at least 300 points (450 points for body shops) in the categories of pollution prevention, resource conservation and body shop operations (if applicable).
• Automotive Services Program of the Eco-Logical Business Program of Portland, Ore. - The Automotive Services Program is one part of the Eco-Logical Business Program and recognizes vehicle service and repair businesses and shops that reach the highest standards in minimizing their environmental impact throughout [the state of] Oregon. The goal of the program is to prevent and minimize pollution
• Green Business Program - Santa Barbara County, Calif. (Automotive) - The Green Business Program in automotive service offers incentives and assistance to encourage businesses to implement voluntary actions to protect, preserve and improve the environment beyond what current laws require. Businesses meeting these criteria can be certified as green businesses.
Once these steps are completed and a business is certified, the San Barbara County Green Business Program will provide the shop with a window logo decal, an
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