Automotive repair shops that are members of the Automotive Service Association of Arizona are able to receive “green” certification if they are able to meet certification guidelines. Reporter Derek Quizon of The Arizona Republic takes a look at the program.
Below is the article as it appeared on The Arizona Republic website.
Peoria Auto Shops Going Green
by Derek Quizon – Mar. 19, 2010 10:32 AM
The Arizona Republic
Automotive repair shops may be one of the last things to come to mind when Arizona residents think of green businesses. But shops across the state, in partnership with the Automotive Service Association of Arizona and the Department of Environmental Quality, are increasingly looking for ways to lessen their impact on the environment.
As part of the Green Business Automotive Program, ASA member shops can apply to be certified green.
A shop must meet at least 300 points on a checklist to earn a certification. Topics covered in the list include disposal and storage of harmful chemicals, parts disposal and energy efficiency.
The automotive program is one component of the larger Green Business program, and DEQ spokesman Mark Shaffer said the automotive repair business was of particular importance because of chemical waste.
"Auto shops deal with a lot of dangerous chemicals. Many traditional practices (like sweeping) just involve pushing them down the road," Shaffer said.
ASA spokeswoman Luz Rubio said the association tries to educate shops on alternative methods, such as the use of water-based rather than chemical solvents in cleaning and degreasing parts. Some measures, such as using dual containers in storage to prevent leaks, make the shops cleaner, less hazardous places to work.
"It also promotes safety in the shops and helps prevent a lot of accidents," she said.
There are no financial incentives for participating in the program – shop owners who pass the three- to six-month application process and biannual inspections are given a plaque to hang on their establishment’s wall.
Advocates of the program said the award itself can be used to attract environmentally conscious customers.
"Consumers today are all about environmentally friendly products," Rubio said. "This is a way to show that auto shops are not the old, dirty places they used to be."
Tom O’Kane’s repair shop, Action Automotive in Phoenix, is one of 51 shops certified green statewide. Action Automotive was certified last September, one of 21 shops awarded the honor in 2009, including AAA Auto Repair shop in Peoria and the five Wilhelm Automotive locations in the West Valley. It was the largest expansion in the program’s five-year history.
O’Kane said following many of the regulations actually saved his business money in the long run. The most notable savings came from a 12 percent reduction in the shop’s electrical bill, he said.
"It can be done very easily and it has great financial benefits," he said of the program. "Any auto shop should do it."
Chris Garman is the general manager of the Wilhelm Automotive repair shops, which has locations in Litchfield Park, Peoria, Goodyear, Surprise and Tatum Ranch. He said some of the program’s requirements, like buying chemicals in bulk to save on container waste, cost time and money, but the benefits of the program outweigh the costs.
"It’s the socially responsible thing to do," Garman said. "We want to leave things better for our kids."
To read this article on The Arizona Republic website, visit http://www.azcentral.com/business/news/articles/2010/03/18/20100318green-auto-certification.html.
Requirements for Green Business Automotive Program
A shop is given a checklist of environmentally friendly practices from the state Department of Environmental Quality. Each practice is assigned a certain number of points. Shops must score at least 300 points to be certified green.
Following are examples of practices on the checklist, and the score assigned to each:
Use 100 percent water-based parts cleaning system (25 points).
Prevent shop fluids, such as waste oil and transmission fluid, from entering the sanitary sewer or storm drains and use dry cleaning methods to dispose of them (20 points).
Coat the shop floor with impermeable material, such as epoxy (25 points).
Designate a specific area for spent-battery storage. Batteries must be stored in a secondary container to prevent leaks and away from ignition sources. They must be sent to a reclaimer after six months to avoid long-term storage (10 points).
Have an energy company conduct a commercial energy audit of the shop (15 points).
Source: DEQArizona Department of Environmental Quality