Small Businesses of the Year
Recognizes California small businesses that demonstrate exceptional climate change management practices and communication.
Atlas Disposal, Sacramento • 89 Employees
This Sacramento Sustainable Business provides recycling and waste collection services that include LEED certified recycling programs, food waste composting, and comprehensive multifamily recycling programs. They purchased 4 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles, bringing the fleet to 25% CNG. They reduced carbon emissions by 1 ton from each vehicle converted from diesel to CNG. Atlas also launched a compostable collection system that takes organic material from local schools, colleges, grocery stores, and large chain restaurants. Participants in the organics collection program were able to divert approximately one third of the material they previously disposed of. Participants that generated between 4 and 8 cubic yards per week, reduced their emissions by 1 to 3 metric tons per year. Atlas partnered with the Rental Housing Association and the City of Rancho Cordova to expand the multifamily recycling program. An employee is recognized each month for their actions and their green efforts are highlighted.
Light & Motion, Monterey • 40 Employees
This Monterey Bay Green Business Program member makes high performance bike headlights and underwater video and digital camera housings and lighting. Their products are manufactured with materials and components sourced from U.S. suppliers and are compliant with the “Directive on the restriction of the use of certain household hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS)”. They use rechargeable batteries and light-emitting diode (LED) lighting rated at over 20,000 hours. In 2011, more than 75% of the bikes they sold were micro- Universal Serial Bus (USB) rechargeable rather than needing a dedicated charger. They recycled 8,417 pounds of scrap aluminum – 39% more than in 2010, saving approximately $4,000. The company replaced their bottled water with on-site water filtration, and held numerous outreach and sponsorship events to promote their sustainable practices. Light and Motion offers employee incentives to commute or cycle to work and provides interior bike parking space. They are reuse experts with everything from packaging to obsolete parts. They use non/low toxic biodegradable products, recycled materials, ENERGY STAR® equipment, and green cleaning solvents.
Recon Recycling, San Diego • 3 Employees
This disabled-veteran owned recycling business provides waste reduction and recycling collection services, environmental consulting, and recycling and waste audits for multi-family dwellings, businesses, and special events. They revised their driving routes and were able to save $400/month on fuel. Recon is able to operate a 6,600 square foot space while spending only $100/month for electricity because they monitor their electricity usage, use motion sensor lighting fixtures, and illuminate their space with skylights. Additionally, Recon powers their forklift with natural gas, uses green cleaning products, prints all materials on recycled paper, and encourages clients to accept invoices and correspondence electronically. The company offers training to their clients and community, including sponsoring “Reconnect,” an annual environmental festival which educates clients and others about recyclable products and sustainable practices. Using the CoolCalifornia calculator, the firm determined that they reduced 3 metric tons of CO2e/year, lowering emissions from 15 to 12 metric tons over business-as-usual practices, and now emit only about 33% of what similar businesses emit.
Three Squares Inc., Santa Monica • 3 Employees
This company is an environmental consulting firm and sustainable event producer. They track emission data from all their business activities including air travel, vehicle miles traveled, and energy usage. The company invested in renewable energy certificates and verifiable carbon offset projects to offset 100% of their office energy needs. They arranged their workspace to take advantage of areas with natural light, and used smart power strips that automatically turn off all phantom outlets when the main control plug is not in use. Three Squares chose vendors that take back products after their shelf life is over and used eco-friendly caterers that serve food on reusable dishes, have compost and recycling programs, and purchase produce from local vendors. All their contractors are able to telecommute, and the company relies heavily on Skype and online tools to reduce commuting. The company reduced unwanted mail by requesting to be removed from mailing lists and they recycled and reused paper, paper products, and e-waste. They donated and exchanged usable items, using web sites like freecycle.org. The company purchased 100% post-consumer and recycled content office paper products, ink and toner cartridges, and Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT®) Gold certified computers. They used non-toxic cleaning products and/or those that received Green Seal certification.
Weston Miles Architects, Morgan Hill • 8 Employees
This Bay Area Green Business offers architectural services and strives to be as sustainable as possible. They further reduced their already low carbon footprint by replacing their mechanical units with more energy efficient ones. They installed photovoltaic panels which generated about 26,636 kWh last year for a total savings of approximately $9,000 on energy bills. They have a small organic orchard that provides fruits and herbs for seasonal dishes at the restaurant located in their building. Traveling is minimized as much as possible by making conference calls instead. When site visits are needed, carpooling is always maximized. Most correspondence is done electronically and they use FileShare to send large documents to clients and consultants. They offer tours of their LEED Gold building which was transformed from an old granary into a beautiful and functional multi unit office building. Their website documents their sustainable philosophy and standards of green design as well as their building’s own carbon footprint. They blog about their events and promote sustainable agriculture with gardening tips; a new monthly newsletter reaches out to a wider audience of clients, customers and associates.
Recognizes California small businesses that have taken proactive steps to reduce their impact on our climate and communicate this information to their employees and customers.
Aqua-Flo Supply, Goleta • 60 Employees
This family-owned irrigation and landscape supply distributor provides recycled content, natural, less-toxic and organic products. The company is a “Green Certified Business” with Santa Barbara County and has held forums to educate their customers on water conservation. They gave re-usable bags to their customers and coffee mugs and water bottles to their employees to avoid waste. Aqua-Flo also provides alternative transportation subsidies to their employees. The company purchases re-manufactured printer cartridges and office supplies, reuses packaging and pallets, and has centralized their purchasing to reduce deliveries.
Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa, Sausalito • 30 Employees
This hotel adopted sustainability practices throughout the facility by installing energy efficient lighting and appliances, dual flush toilets and occupancy sensors in bathrooms. They purchased recycled glass bathroom shelves, environmentally friendly cleaning products, low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and carpet, and refillable & recyclable bottles. Cloud computing eliminated the need for a paper trail.
Cibola Systems Corporation, Orange • 15 Employees
This consulting firm obtained a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating for their newly renovated office building and purchased a two-year agreement to procure 50% of their electricity from renewable energy. Controlled lighting, ENERGY STAR® appliances, a tankless water heater, Cloud computing, and programmable thermostats, reduce their electricity use. A cistern system harvests rain water and the drip irrigation system and low-flow fixtures reduce water consumption by as much as 75%.
CleanFlame, Oroville • 20 Employees
This fire log manufacturer invested in new technologies to enhance water and energy conservation. They purchased recycled-content products, rechargeable batteries, non/less-toxic cleaning supplies, ENERGY STAR® equipment, and Smart power strips. Staff eliminated the bottled water dispenser, reduced air travel, increased carpooling, and improved vehicle maintenance and driving methods. CleanFlame reduced their GHG emissions by 3,786 tons and saved $62,945 on energy and water bills.
Minagar & Associates, Inc., Irvine • 8 Employees
This consulting firm does extensive teaching and training on reducing travel times, air pollution, fuel consumption, and ambient noise for jurisdictions throughout California. A recent project to synchronize traffic lights in Culver City improved travel times by 18% and reduced the number of traffic stops by 38%. As a result, fuel consumption will decrease by 1.6 million gallons per year and total annual savings for motorists will be approximately $28,000,000 per year.
Paladin Law Group LLP, Walnut Creek • 5 Employees
This law firm is a member of the Contra Costa Green Business Program and is enrolled in PG&E’s ClimateSmart Program. The firm leased three hybrid cars for its employees, and encourages biking and travel by bus and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), both of which have stops very nearby. They switched to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), an electronic file transfer, storage, and management system, ENERGY STAR® copiers and printers, recycled paper and paper products, and a tankless water heater.
PizzaSalad, Thousand Oaks • 7 Employees
This organic pizza restaurant renovated their restaurant using re-used construction materials, bamboo tables and countertops, ENERGY STAR® equipment, and efficient lighting. The packaging is 100% plant-based, compostable and biodegradable, and the food deliveries are made using hybrid vehicles. The staff wears 100% organic cotton uniforms. Recycling bins separate their recyclables, biodegradable and compostable utensils, plates, napkins, to-go bags, and pizza boxes.
Pure Water Bottling Co., Castroville • 10 Employees
This water distributor participates in PG&E’s ClimateSmart Program saving 23% annually on their energy costs. They recycled 99% of all cardboard and plastic materials saving $5,000 per year. They are very selective about their clients, thereby limiting their driving routes to about 45 miles. Tires on all 14 delivery trucks are re-treaded saving $24,000 per year and they return old tires for retreading or recycling. They used 100% reclaimed water for their outdoor landscaping and the bottle labels and caps are all 100% recyclable. Eighty-five percent of the warehouse is lighted via skylights and automatic lighting systems.
Sapphos Environmental, Inc., Pasadena • 52 Employees
This environmental consulting firm is a member of the Climate Action Registry. The company installed solar panels on the roof and carport structures that will produce all of the electricity needed for the building, and prevent 762 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 0.032 tons of methane (CH4) from being released into the atmosphere. Sapphos purchased ENERGY STAR® appliances and efficient lighting and has pledged to further reduce their transportation-related carbon footprint through the use of the CoolCalifornia carbon calculator.
Sun Harbor Marina, San Diego • 2 Employees
This marina purchased wind and solar energy, ENERGY STAR® equipment, efficient lighting with timers and sensors, low flow fixtures, and drip irrigation. Environmentally friendly products are specified in property and pest-control contracts. Sun Harbor encourages and supports alternative transportation for their staff. They promote their green practices in a monthly electronic newsletter, provide bonuses to staff for cost savings they help produce, and participated in the Green Business Challenge with the Port of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
Virtually Basic LLC, Citrus Heights • 3 Employees
This hazardous, medical, and pharmaceutical waste transportation and disposal company converted to a green technology that converts the collected hazardous waste into inert materials with no emissions and only minimal water use. The newly implemented green technology reduced energy use, material processing, and transportation related costs and emissions for their entire operation. They recycle solvents and formaldehyde and provide live and on-line training.