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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Local Program helps businesses go green



If you knew that a local business operated in an environmentally-responsible way, would you be more likely to patronize it? Now there is a green certification program for businesses that voluntarily go beyond what is required by regulatory agencies. These special businesses earn the right to display the Green Business logo.

The Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program recognizes and promotes businesses that operate with the environment in mind. The program provides applicant businesses with clear information and technical assistance on how to comply with environmental regulations and how to go beyond compliance to adopt environmentally-sound practices in four areas: energy efficiency, water conservation, solid and hazardous waste reduction, and pollution prevention. Oftentimes, being kind to the earth also means saving money in water and energy costs.

To become certified, businesses must voluntarily reduce water consumption, retrofit lights and make other electrical modifications to reduce consumption, reduce solid waste by more than the average business and surpass regulatory requirements for pollution prevention. Once the applicant business has completed the requirements and becomes a Certified Green Business, it is encouraged to display the Green Business logo on the premises and in advertising.

The local Green Business Program is modeled after a similar program in the San Francisco Bay area. The Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program is currently focusing on auto repair shops and restaurants with plans to expand into hospitality and other sectors in the near future.

The original San Francisco Bay Area program has grown to include seven participating counties which have certified over 300 businesses and public agencies since 1996. The program continues to expand with new Green Business Programs starting up in San Diego, Sacramento, Arizona, Hawaii, as well as right here in the Monterey Bay area.

If you own a local restaurant or auto repair shop, you are urged to contact the program coordinator in your county and start the certification process. The service audit is free to participants. As an added incentive, water fixtures are replaced at no cost to the business. In addition, the program may be able to provide rebates for replacement lighting fixtures.

Local coordinators:

Santa Cruz County:

Josephine Fleming 465-7439, josephine.fleming@co.santa-cruz.ca.us.

Monterey County:

Health Department, Environmental Health Division, Solid Waste and Recycling Section, 755-4579, recycle@co.monterey.ca.us.

How to help

o Eat out at certified green restaurants.

o Take your car to a green auto repair shop.

o Urge non-certified businesses to start the certification process.

o Visit www.ambag.org/greenbiz to learn more.

 

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