2014 Award Winners

This year’s 16 award winners were selected from applicants across the state and represent a wide variety of business sectors. These businesses took a number of different actions to save money and improve their internal operations while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts. Some of the steps they took included installing LED lights, solar panels and energy-efficient equipment; eliminating toxic chemicals and solvents; using eco-friendly, recycled/reused/repurposed products; composting food scraps and plant material; installing aerators on faucets and low-flow toilets; and starting or enhancing recycling and water conservation programs. All of our winners promote sustainability and environmental stewardship by participating in community events, serving on green committees and teams, speaking at conferences, teaching a course, using social media, and engaging their employees.

Check out the video and learn about the 2014 Small Business Awards Winners

Capitola Veterinary Hospital

Visit: http://capitolaveterinaryhospital.com/
Business of the Year

Capitola Veterinary Hospital is a full-service veterinary medical facility that has taken many steps to become an eco-friendly center for all pets and clients. As a 2013 Climate Leader award recipient, Capitola Veterinary Hospital looked to 2014 to build upon its already sustainable foundation. The veterinary hospital essentially “mastered” the paperless office by converting to a digital medical records system, invested in a paperless fax machine that allows the business to post requests or previous history directly to a patient’s medical chart, and communicate with clients electronically. Clients are asked to use the Sign Easy app on the iPad for authorization signatures, which makes it easy for hospital staff to email the document and attach it to the chart without any paper being used. General communications, prescription requests, and special orders are written using wet erase pens and laminated sheets, which can be washed and reused. Technicians also use laminated sheets to document the health of the patient, scan them into the computer and digitally attach them to patient charts. These small, simple actions have saved the hospital $600 on paper costs annually! Capitola Veterinary Hospital also converted its X-rays from film to digital, which drastically reduced its chemical and hazardous waste and has the added benefit of requiring less radiation than film X-rays. Capitola Veterinary Hospital previously replaced its computers with ENERGY STAR models and retrofitted all of its old fluorescent tubes with high efficiency LED tubes and T-8 tubes, resulting in annual savings of approximately $600-$700. The veterinary hospital installed low flow toilets and sinks, and is proud of its innovative recycling program. Styrofoam coolers are given to the “Waste to Waves” program that turns recycled Styrofoam into surfboard blanks. For these actions, Capitola Veterinary Hospital was presented with the Climate Leader Award in 2013. In 2014, Capitola Veterinary Hospital continued to take significant steps to become even more eco-friendly. The veterinary hospital partnered with Arcadia Power to purchase 100 percent clean energy for its electrical usage in the form of wind power Renewable Energy Credits. The business also created a clean energy incentive program for its clients, providing them with gift certificates to their hospital if they sign up for clean energy for their home. To conserve energy and gas, Capitola Veterinary Hospital upgraded its dated analog thermostat to a programmable ENERGY STAR thermostat. Hospital owners converted from paper advertising to online marketing, which proved to have a much greater return on investment! Capitola Veterinary Hospital’s cumulative efforts and achievements make them an eco-friendly model for other hospitals and small businesses to follow.

Ohana Pet Hospital

Visit: http://www.ohanapethospital.com/
Business of the Year

Ohana Pet Hospital is a five-doctor veterinary clinic that provides medical, surgical, dental and wellness health care for dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents and select reptiles. Ohana was presented with a CoolCalifornia Climate Leader award in 2013 for its achievements in reducing waste, recycling and conserving energy and water. In 2014, the hospital used its 2,000-square-foot facility extension as an opportunity to expand upon its eco-friendly commitment. The new space was built with eco-friendly materials including zero-emission paints, plant-based and Green Guard Indoor Air Quality Certified anti-microbial flooring, and LED lighting. It also included energy efficient appliances, an additional low-flow toilet, and increased insulation for the cooling/heating unit. In order to go above and beyond what had been done in the past, Ohana used new eco-friendly materials, such as Green Guard Indoor Air Quality Certified, recycled-content cabinet laminates. Whenever feasible, Ohana uses refillable cleaning products purchased from a local refill store. The pet hospital uses office supplies that are recyclable or otherwise eco-friendly, and purchases promotional products from a company that sells environmentally friendly items. Ohana continues to operate digital X-ray and recordkeeping systems, and use an e-fax number. The business also implemented a new employee clock-in system to further reduce paper waste. This past year, in an effort to maximize waste reduction and recycling at Ohana, employees visited the local recycling facility to share the types of medical waste Ohana produces and learn what may be recycled. To help educate their staff, the business owners created and display a “recycling board” to show what materials can be recycled. Ohana continues to provide clients with tote bags when needed for food and prescription purposes. Finally, to “top-off” its waste reduction efforts, Ohana located a business that is able to collect and reuse icepacks used in medication shipments to the pet hospital. To promote environmental sustainability in its community in 2014, Ohana Pet Hospital sponsored five ‘Poo-Free Park Stations’ throughout Ventura’s dog parks and beaches to encourage the use of eco-friendly bags for animal waste pickup. It also helped plan and execute a Summit on Water Conservation, which was a partnership between Ventura Water, the City of Ventura, the Ventura Chamber of Commerce and Assemblyman Das Williams. Additionally, its monthly e-newsletter for clients features tips on water conservation. A company that continually educates, learns and acts on what it has learned, Ohana has proven itself to be a pioneer of eco-friendly business.

Precision Labs Calibration

Visit: http://www.thecallab.com/
Business of the Year

Precision Labs Calibration is a Native American-owned business in Antelope Valley that performs high technology calibration services for medical, aerospace, agricultural and film industries. Precision Labs calibrates electrocardiography machines, attunes sound and light meters, and performs highly accurate measurements of temperature and humidity. Following five years of 10 percent annual growth, the owners decided to give back to their community and the world at large by undertaking an ambitious goal to become Antelope Valley’s first net zero electric building. To reach this goal, they invested in a rooftop solar system, LED lighting, timers to shut off refrigerators, control systems that place the building in a low-power state, electric wiring to control when the water heater runs, and additional insulation. They also modified the outdoor lighting timers to coincide with astrological timing rather than a specific time, trained employees to shut off unused lights and systems, created a contract to replace their single pane windows with double pane windows, and serviced their five air conditioners. Two of the air conditioners were placed on Southern California Edison’s Summer Discount Plan, where they could be shut down for up to six hours per day during periods of high electricity demand or emergencies. Taken together, these actions resulted in more than a 100 percent reduction in utility electrical consumption, making the electric bill nearly zero, as well as providing 40 percent brighter offices and laboratories. The total investment was $85,000 and return on investment is expected in three years, based on tax incentives and a decrease in the electricity bill. 
In order to help other small companies reduce their carbon footprint, Precision Labs Calibration created a major educational event that was attended by 200 people, including a representative from Congressman “Buck” McKeon’s office, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, State Senator Steve Knight, and Assemblyman Steve Fox. The event was broadcast by a local radio station and featured in the business section of the Antelope Valley Press newspaper. As a result of the event, at least two more small businesses and one resident have installed solar. In addition, Terry Norris, CEO of Precision Labs Calibration, has reached out to the City of Palmdale to create a certified green program, with the goal of encouraging more companies to invest in eco-friendly business practices. Terry Norris described his company perfectly when he stated: “We lead not only in the calibration world, but as community leaders that care for the future of all people.”

SRT Consultants

Visit: http://www.srtconsultants.com/
Business of the Year

SRT Consultants is committed to providing high quality services in the field of water resources, wastewater and civil engineering, while also promoting environmental sustainability. In the past two years, SRT Consultants has taken significant steps to create a green office space, reduce waste, conserve water and improve energy efficiency. To create a green office space, SRT Consultants made it company policy to purchase only low toxic chemicals and green products for washing dishes, personal hygiene and other necessary tasks. Additionally, SRT purchased an Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool laptop and posted signs reminding workers to turn off lights and recycle. To cut down waste, this small business made duplex printing standard for all computers and implemented a policy of utilizing used paper as scratch paper, saving $300 per year on paper and printing services. With a company tagline reading, “Water Resources Engineers,” you can expect SRT to take water conservation seriously. To conserve water, SRT installed a low-flow toilet, along with aerators in the kitchen and bathroom sinks that reduce the flow rate to below 0.5 gallons per minute. SRT Consultants also lowered the amount of water given to its plants and began to track its water bills more closely, watching for signs of waste or leaks. In order to increase energy efficiency, SRT replaced all of its non-T-fluorescent bulbs with LED bulbs, purchased an ENERGY STAR printer, and began to use a small space heater as the sole source of heating in the winter, as well as two rotating fans instead of an A/C system in the summer. These simple actions not only resulted in a smaller carbon footprint, but reduced SRT’s electric bill by $100-$300 per year. Inspired by what they saw on CoolCalifornia.org, SRT owners signed up for Arcadia Power’s Renewable Energy Certificate Program, making the business 100 percent Clean Energy Powered! SRT Consultants is actively engaged in sustainability organizations, both teaching and learning from other companies. They are the only business to have attended every meeting of the San Francisco Green Business “Green Sphere Business Exchange,” and SRT was awarded a Green Business Certification in 2014. SRT also attended PG&E seminars and workshops that promote sustainable business practices. Lastly, SRT hosts yearly events for the Bay Area Water Works Associations – Water For People. This is a charity-based organization that seeks to provide disadvantaged international communities with the proper infrastructure to access clean water.

Allterra Solar

Visit: http://www.allterrasolar.com/
Climate Leader

Allterra Solar is an all-around proactive company that educates its employees and peers on environmental technology and sustainability. Allterra Solar focuses on services such as solar electric design and build, environmental consulting, groundwater remediation, environmental assessment reports, water systems, and energy efficiency retrofits. Leading by example, Allterra Solar has its own environmental policy. Allterra Solar tracked and calculated its carbon emissions with the help of the City of Santa Cruz, and then became a Monterey Bay Area Certified Green Business. The process was very educational and made the team even more aware of the different ways that business operations can positively, or adversely, affect the environment. Allterra Solar now provides employee alternative transportation solutions, which have resulted in an estimated $200+ savings per month. The company installed energy efficient lighting through the PG&E and CPUC Right Lights program which has already paid for itself and is now saving Allterra Solar over $25 per month on its electric bill. In addition to conducting education and outreach activities such as hands on training in schools for grey water, rain water, and solar electric systems, Allterra Solar is also the Official Sustainability Partner of the Santa Cruz Warriors (a NBA D-League Affiliate).

Aperia Technologies, Inc.

Visit: http://www.aperiatech.com/
Climate Leader

“Changing the world one revolution at a time” is Aperia Technologies’ motto, which the company aims to do by providing automatic tire inflation technology for commercial vehicles and incorporating eco-friendly office practices. Using its Halo Tire Inflator and other product technologies, Aperia Technologies addresses tire under-inflation, which takes a heavy toll on the environment due to increased CO2 emissions, oil consumption, and tire waste. Aperia’s facility boasts features, such as an electric/hybrid charging unit, recycling and on-site composting, lighting occupancy sensors, and solar screening on windows. Its biggest investment has been a new, more efficient heating unit in its warehouse, which is estimated to save more than $1,000 per year. Furthermore, the company’s information technology power management initiative for office and lab equipment resulted in an additional savings of over $1,000 per year. Aperia Technologies is most proud of its decision to manufacture locally, knowing that carbon emissions are avoided by cutting air travel from foreign suppliers. The company fosters an environmentally conscious culture for employees by providing public transportation reimbursement, frequent carpool groups, a bike friendly office, an outdoor seating area with climate appropriate landscaping, and raising staff awareness through quarterly ‘Lunch and Learns’ on sustainability and safety policies.

Capitol Bowl

Visit: http://www.capbowl.com/
Climate Leader

Capitol Bowl is a small, family-owned bowling center with a full-service restaurant and bar. Built in the 1950s, the facility was newly remodeled when the owners became aware of their carbon footprint. To help reduce their footprint, Capitol Bowl switched from disposable food service ware to reusable, and switched from Styrofoam to cardboard take-out containers. The owners built a patio with a xeriscape garden and installed energy-efficient blinds. This past year, they took their efforts up a notch by adding rooftop solar, switching the parking lot lights to LED, and starting a water conservation program. Before adding the PV solar panels and LED lighting, their utility bills averaged $7,000 per month for electricity and gas. When the PV system went live their monthly bill fell to about $1,800. Today, Capitol Bowl can boast that many of its employees bicycle to work, and the business uses highly efficient natural gas kitchen appliances, and sources and serves food from local farmers. Capitol Bowl says it took three years to transform the old, hot building into an energy-smart, water conserving, beautiful bowling center and restaurant. The business’s remodeling efforts were worth it and even earned Capitol Bowl local media attention on KVIE’s “Yes, We’re Open” TV show and a feature article in the Sacramento Business Journal!

Daisy Rose Floral Design

Visit: http://daisyroseflowers.com/
Climate Leader

Daisy Rose Floral Design creates floral arrangements to fit the customer’s style, and keeps their process natural, organic, and sustainable. The company strives to minimize their impact on the environment through ultra-low energy usage, water conservation, and near zero waste practices.Complementing their creativity, daisy rose floral design adopts unique ways to incorporate sustainability in their business processes. for example, flowers are locally and seasonally sourced whenever possible, which supports nearby farmers and vendors, as well as cuts back on greenhouse gas emissions caused by transportation. In order to keep their process non-toxic and biodegradable, Daisy Rose Floral Design does not use floral foam, spray paints, or artificial dyes. Once their product is complete, they return all flower packaging for reuse, and replant or compost all leftover plant material to reduce their waste.In selecting a one-of-a-kind, purposeful workspace, daisy floral design decided to convert a semi-demolished horse shed into their design studio. Daisy Rose Floral Design utilized 50-60% repurposed materials to build features of the studio, including reclaimed siding, salvaged windows, and recycled roofing. Appliances and fixtures of the studio include a compost toilet, energy efficient lighting, a tankless water heater, and an Energy Star walk-in cooler. They use natural ventilation and insulation instead of air conditioning and heating to keep their energy bills at an absolute minimum.A wonderful way daisy rose floral design contributes to the community is by repurposing their floral arrangements from an event and donating the flowers to hospitals and retirement communities. This is a special way to make the most of their floral masterpieces and continue to put smiles on peoples’ faces after an event!Daisy Rose Floral Design understands the environmental impacts of their activities and changing the way they operate is an ongoing educational exercise. For example, all employees are made aware of necessary energy saving behaviors, like shutting doors for insulation, and turning off lights when not in use. Daisy Rose Floral Design’s efforts to manage, monitor, and measure their resources have led them to become a certified Green Business of Sonoma County.

Geo H. Wilson, Inc.

Visit: http://www.geohwilson.com/
Climate Leader

Not many plumbing companies can claim to be as respected as Geo. H. Wilson, which is the first Green Certified Santa Cruz Plumbing Contractor, as well as a third generation family owned and operated business since 1921. This small business provides plumbing and mechanical services to clients and strives to promote a “local” and “green” mentality on jobsites and in its office. Geo. H. Wilson has undertaken numerous waste reduction efforts, including donating used office products to schools, having all construction debris diverted away from landfills, committing to only utilize recycled materials and reusing everything possible. An environmental policy statement was also put into effect to outline the business’s goals as a green business in order to conserve and implement “green practices.” The cost savings from the plumbing contractor’s waste, greenhouse gas, energy and water reduction efforts totals $12,700 over the year. Moreover, the business has promoted bike commuting for businesses in its area by partnering with Santa Cruz County to host a Bike Commuter Awareness Training and by supporting Bike to Work Week. Even when economic pressures posed a challenge to implementing new sustainable actions, Geo. H. Wilson is proud to have steadily developed, maintained and improved its already sustainable business practices, which will continue to make a difference for decades.

Lake Merritt Dental

Visit: http://www.lakemerrittdental.com/
Climate Leader

Lake Merritt Dental is a comprehensive, eco-friendly, top rated whole oral healthcare clinic. Its dentists perform a full range of dental services from preventive hygiene care to complex implant surgeries, while also working to conserve energy and reduce waste. The owners of Lake Merritt Dental used PG&E’s comprehensive online portal to monitor their business’s energy practices and create goals to reduce usage levels. They also utilize PG&E’s SmartAC program, use only ENERGY STAR appliances, and replace lights with LEDs as the older lights burn out. These actions save them approximately $200 per month. To reduce waste, Lake Merritt Dental has begun purchasing dental products from green vendors. Currently, 70 percent of its products are eco-friendly, which is a great achievement considering the high cleanliness standards for medical and healthcare equipment. The business also uses the latest digital equipment, such as 3D digital panoramic X-ray technology, and offers in-house crown milling. In addition to conserving energy and reducing waste, Lake Merritt Dental works to decrease water use and was certified with East Bay Municipal Utility District as a WaterSmart business. Lake Merritt Dental is proud to say that 90 percent of its employees take public transportation, bike or walk to work each day. The business also incentivizes biking and walking through a partnership with the local nonprofit, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, and by offering indoor bike parking and monthly donations based on the volume of walkers/bikers to its office.

Laura Lawson, DDS

Visit: http://www.lauralawsondds.com/
Climate Leader

Laura Lawson, DDS, is a holistic dental office committed to providing both clean teeth and a clean environment. To conserve energy, the office uses ENERGY STAR printers, an ENERGY STAR washing machine, and T-5 and T-8 lighting in conjunction with natural light via skylight. The office does not replace mercury amalgam fillings or crowns, and ceased applying fluoride, reducing the generation of dental toxins. The office was able to reduce paper use by 40 percent as a result of sending electronic claims to insurance companies, printing on both sides, transitioning from paper to electronic charts, taking digital X-rays, and communicating with patients and other dental offices through email and phone rather than postcards. Laura Lawson, DDS, cut down on waste by recycling plastics, paper, cardboard and glass, and composting food scraps, plant debris and paper towels. The office minimizes single use items, instead using cloth towels in the restroom, cloth lab coats, cloth head-rests for dental chairs, and ceramic mugs for tea and water. These actions reduced the office’s total waste stream by 30 percent. In addition, the office has significantly reduced water use by installing a low-flow toilet and low-flow aerators on faucets, and by posting signs in the kitchen and restroom to encourage water conservation. The Laura Lawson, DDS, office prides itself on having employees that carpool, which has reduced overall vehicle travel by 228 miles per month, and on attaining a Green Business Certification in June 2014.

Manhattan Bread and Bagel

Visit: http://www.manhattanbread.com/
Climate Leader

Manhattan Bread & Bagel is an eco-friendly café and bakery that sells sandwiches, soups, and more than 100 different baked goods each day. This small business has successfully cut down on 35 percent of its total waste stream, reduced trash pick-ups from five days per week to one day per week, and alternatively, increased recycle pick-ups from one day per week to four days per week (saving $230 per month on trash service fees) by using recycled paper and plastic service ware, banning all polystyrene, and partnering with both Waste Management and Recycling to Conserve (RTC) to recycle its facility’s food waste. Manhattan Bread & Bagel also participated in Southern California Edison’s Direct Install Program. This included installing occupancy sensors in storage and bathroom areas, a new LED exit light, T-5 florescent bulbs, upgraded refrigeration gaskets and LED MR16 light bulbs. These actions resulted in a 40 percent savings on the lighting cost portion of this small business’s utility bill. To add to its energy savings, Manhattan Bread & Bagel installed a direct fire tankless water heater to reduce its natural gas use. The bagel shop’s efforts were so extraordinary that the business was honored with a SoCal Environmental Excellence Development Award by the South Bay Business Environmental Coalition.

Metro Lighting

Visit: http://www.metrolighting.com/
Climate Leader

“Beautiful. Sustainable. Handcrafted in California,” is Metro Lighting’s mission in providing decorative lighting fixtures for residential and hospitality clients. This business offers custom lighting solutions fabricated on site and a gorgeous selection of locally crafted items in its 3,000-square-foot showroom. Metro Lighting has many well-deserved recognitions for its products and facility, including being a Bay Area Certified Green Business and winning an Acterra Business Environmental Award. Metro Lighting is 100 percent solar-powered by a rooftop 21-kWH solar array, an investment that will eventually save more than $12,000 per year in electricity bills. This is especially impressive with a business that requires a lot of power to showcase lighting. Metro Lighting also implemented an “Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy,” uses recycled materials for packing and shipping, supplies on-site bike parking, has converted most of its lights to LEDs and CFLs, and installed low-flow toilets and faucets. Metro Lighting has become a leader in its community through the Sustainability Business Alliance, Buy Local Berkeley and the West Berkeley Design Loop. The business is committed to quality, durability, energy efficiency and local manufacturing.

Plaza Cleaners

Visit: http://www.plazacleanersto.com/
Climate Leader

The owners of Plaza Cleaners pride themselves on being the first green cleaners in the city of Thousand Oaks and in Ventura County. Both the Board of Supervisors of Ventura County and the City of Thousand Oaks Green Business Program have awarded this family owned and operated dry cleaning/laundry drop-off, pick-up and delivery service for its environmentally friendly practices. To educate their peers, Plaza Cleaners owners shared their 35 years of experience and business processes by hosting a Professional Wet Cleaning Demonstration in collaboration with the UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program. Since removing perchloroethylene from their cleaning procedures and converting to natural, professional wet cleaning in 2006, Plaza Cleaners has made additional reductions in energy usage and waste. For example, Plaza Cleaners utilizes daylight and air flow to eliminate unnecessary light fixtures and reduce the need for air conditioning. The business has significantly reduced waste by encouraging customers to reuse laundry bags, garment covers and hangers. As a result of this effort, the dry cleaning operation has decreased the number of plastic poly bags needed per week from three rolls to one. At 1,800 sheets and $30 per roll, the owners have made a positive impact on both the environment and their weekly cash flow.

Studio City Orthodontist

Visit: http://www.invisalignstudiocity.com/
Climate Leader

Studio City Orthodontist is an Invisalign-only dental office providing clients a clear alternative to braces in a beautiful, energy/water efficient and healthier orthodontist office space. By retrofitting their new office space, which opened in fall 2014, the owners only used non-toxic paint, varnish and caulks, and made sure that all wood was reclaimed to prevent materials from being landfilled. They are dedicated to water conservation, and aside from using WaterSense certified appliances, they collect rain water for their Zen garden, which is full of drought-tolerant succulents. Additionally, Studio City Orthodontist owners replaced a 50+-year-old heating ventilation and air conditioning system and ensured that there were no gaps or holes in the insulation. To save more energy, they installed a smart programmable Nest thermostat, natural lighting, ENERGY STAR certified equipment, a cool roof, and high-efficiency LED lighting. Because of the retrofit, Studio City Orthodontist says they are paying at least 40 percent less in utility bills. They post signage throughout the office to point out the green features of their space and like to show visitors that green business is affordable, profitable and achievable.

Way To Be Designs

Visit: http://www.waytobe.com/
Climate Leader

Way To Be Designs’ motto is, “We don’t give lip service to sustainability — we’ve built it into our business strategies.” Way To Be Designs offers creative custom and branded merchandise and uniforms for mid to large size companies with high volume needs. Most notably, the business has demonstrated leadership in sustainability by developing a unique process to recycle used vinyl rooftop banners into useful “banner bags.” Way To Be Designs’ clients know where products come from, that products are created in a safe and sustainable manner, and that products are not hazardous to workers or consumers. Moreover, Way To Be Designs’ green business operations include using ENERGY STAR-rated equipment, composting food scraps, providing employees with reusable cutlery and water bottles, posting water conservation signs in restrooms and in the kitchen, shipping in bulk, and mandating “green” janitorial products. Additionally, the business has installed motion light sensors in break rooms, upgraded its heating system, and set-up programmable thermostats. Way To Be Designs is most proud of its internal improvements to replace more than 100 T-12 lights and ballasts with T-8 lights, and expects an energy cost savings of between 3 and 7 percent as a result of all of its actions.