Are You Making the Green Scene in 2016?
Just about every shop in the country wants a healthier planet, and a safer work environment for their employees. Most of the top body shops nationwide are proactively looking to be as green as possibly, while others are content to simply adhere to the local laws and requirements. There are a lot of benefits for being green, including making your customers and your employees happy while allowing you to sleep better at night. So, if you're looking to have a greener operation starting this year, here are 5 main facets to focus on.
1) Use Clean Power
Many shops tout themselves as being planet conscious, but are they really walking the walk when it comes to using less electricity in their daily production? In most cities, Green Power programs support energy from the wind and the sun, two of the cleanest and most renewable energy sources available. The general concept behind these programs is to provide market-based choices for electricity consumers to purchase power from environmentally preferred sources. The term "green power" is used to define power that’s generated from renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar power, geothermal, hydropower and various forms of biomass). Although renewable energy development has traditionally been limited by cost considerations, these programs can enable body shops to embrace cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy. In many cases, adding solar to your shop can end up paying for itself more quickly than you might ever imagine.
2) Use Waterborne Paint
For now, shops in most of the country can opt whether to switch out their solvent-based paint to waterborne. But other states are following California’s regulatory example by requiring body shops to convert. By using cutting-edge waterborne paints your shop will not only be protecting the environment from harmful runoff and airborne contaminants, but also protecting your customers' factory matched finishes. Many forward thinking shops are switching over to waterborne paint now, even though local laws aren't mandating it yet. That way, when those mandates do go into the law books, those shops will be poised and prepared to make the switch.
3) Be an EPA Approved Facility
Body shops owners think that becoming a certified EPA compliant shop is a lot of work and expensive, but that isn't true. If you're currently taking every precaution to protect the environment and your staff from exposure to harsh chemicals and additives, you may already be there. Take a look at the EPA's requirements and make becoming an approved facility a priority in 2016. By being able to wave the EPA flag and tell the public that you're adhering to their stringent requirements, you'll likely get more attention from DRPS and customers who care.
4) Minimize Waste Generation
All solvents, paint, metals, and paper products should always be either reused or recycled at any body shop regardless, but here are some other things you'll need to do to be considered 100% green. First, you must keep your shop organized, which means you need to label all products and waste containers. You also need to keep an inventory of every product you use and make sure they have not expired. To make it easier, many shops assign one individual to track materials and maintain the inventories. Also, when you're mixing paint, you should always use a computerized mixing system. These systems allow painters to mix smaller amounts of color and prevent waste when performing smaller jobs. Also, why not reuse excess coating as an undercoat or a primer to save even more?
5) Conserve Water
If you're in the West or maybe in a small town using wells, conserving water is a big deal. To do this, train your employees to use water efficiently and minimize the amount of wash water that you use. Use dry floor cleaning methods including sweeping and vacuuming. And consider using a water recycling unit for vehicle washing or possibly think about washing vehicles at an offsite car wash, so that someone else can pay for the water.
How green do you think you and your shop truly are? After all, in an industry where green is one of the hottest topics out there. So why not try to be as planet friendly as you possibly can?
Sources: Green Power Programs, EPA and Environmental Compliance Guide
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