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PACE Certification Embraces Sustainability in Boulder County

green earth image -- PACE Certification Boulder Colorado

Independent Motors just received PACE Certification. This certification, locally based, is similar to LEED and Energy Star. It is a way of expressing a commitment to sustainability and an alignment with Boulder’s values. This article looks at PACE, as well as LEED and Energy Star, with which it shares core principles and objectives.

What is PACE?

PACE (Partners for a Clean Environment) is a Boulder County program that promotes and advises on sustainability. Its PACE Partners are organizations in the area that have been certified by Boulder County, demonstrating their environmental responsibility and waste diversion (see below). Along with the other organizations within PACE, Independent Motors has become one of hundreds of organizations that:

  • have dedicated themselves to helping build the local economy by adopting more environmentally friendly methods in various aspects of their business.
  • are committed to the local area and community
  • are concerned about the people and businesses who purchase their products
  • are geared generally toward the implementation of methods that are helpful to the local area’s economy, environment, and public health.

Applying for and receiving PACE Certification is a way for us to let you know that we have taken an initiative in deploying many key sustainability practices. According to Boulder County, the guidelines it uses for certification are “based upon and consistent with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria as well as Energy Star Building certification.

What is waste diversion?

Waste diversion is defined within legal resource Defined Term as “the sum of your recycled, composted, and donated/reused materials.” In turn, the waste diversion rate is the proportion of all waste that gets donated, reused, composted, or recycled. For instance, if your business creates 1000 pounds of waste and 500 pounds is either donated, composted, reused, or recycled, that gives you a waste diversion rate of 50%.

The diversion rate can typically be improved by increasing the number of items that are recycled. Organizations can find new ways to recycle through a waste stream audit, a standardized process that can also sometimes reveal revenue opportunities, according to facilities management resource Buildings.

Notably, waste diversion is especially critical for the construction industry, as indicated by these statistics:

  • As the largest source within the waste stream at 30% of the total, the waste from construction and demolition (C &D) adds up to 135.5 million tons.
  • The average amount of waste per square foot of a newly constructed building is 3.9 pounds.
  • Waste per square foot for the average demolition is 155 pounds.

While construction may create more waste than other industries, every organization can improve its waste diversion, resource conservation, and other sustainability policies.

What is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Created and developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), it is a set of green construction guidelines that are used to certify facilities as having met accepted sustainability standards. Like EnergyStar and PACE, LEED gives companies and other entities a way to present evidence that they used environmentally sound construction supplies and methods, based on the perspective of an objective outside organization. The range of LEED is broad, covering the extent to which the facility conserves resources, allows for high indoor environmental quality, is efficient with water, limits carbon dioxide emissions, and saves on electricity usage, among other concerns. Again meeting a similar need to other certification methods such as PACE and EnergyStar, LEED gives the managers and owners of any building a way to determine and initiate pragmatic steps to improve the environmental friendliness of their properties – in terms of how it is architected and constructed, but also in how it is maintained.

The USGBC was created in 1993 by a group of people within the American Institute of Architects (a professional organization that is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has 90,000 members, promoting the value of architecture and providing architects with helpful resources). The initial USGBC members represented approximately five dozen for-profit companies and a few nonprofit organizations. The intention of this group was to advance sustainability within construction. The USGBC first introduced the LEED certification program in 2000.

What is Energy Star?

Energy Star is a certification program that was created and is maintained in collaboration between the US Department of Energy (DOE) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is used to allow companies and individuals to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by being able to choose electronics, appliances, office equipment, and manufacturing plants that have committed to strong efficiency standards and protocols. While that describes the initial Energy Star focus, other types of industrial buildings, as well as commercial and residential buildings, can now go through the certification and rating process as well.

Originally released in 1992, Energy Star was used in a modified version to assess all members of the European Union in 2007. New Zealand and Australia also now use a similar version of these standards to gauge their own governmental practices, as well as to provide certification for for-profit and nonprofit organizations throughout their nations. Because of these high-profile adoptions and use beyond the borders of the United States, the certification program is taken very seriously.

Energy Star program to end?

Energy Star was in the political headlines recently because it would have ended with Trump’s budget as he attempted to redirect an additional $54 billion annually into military spending. However, his efforts to terminate Energy Star did not succeed.

As Grist noted, the program had helped organizations develop efficiency that had huge financial gains, amounting to a reduction of $430 billion on energy spending. Meanwhile, the program only (relative to its benefits) cost taxpayers $50 million annually.

Congress was not completely onboard with Trump’s efforts. In fact, there was substantial funding for innovations within the clean energy sector in the spending bill. According to the nonprofit National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the bill “clears the way for the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out an effective operation while guarding against many harmful anti-environment policy ‘riders’ that have no place in a spending bill.”

When Congress passed the bill on March 23, they did so without including (as wanted by the Trump administration) the removal of the Advanced Research Projects Agency –Energy (ARPA-E), the division of the EPA that oversees the government’s efforts toward clean energy innovation. It also did so without removing a large amount of money from the budget for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); in fact, the budget expanded the EERE’s budget by 11% over 2017. Finally, the EPA’s Energy Star program was taken off the chopping block as well.

Trump may not like the Energy Star program because he reportedly once received a 1 out of 100 rating – the lowest possible score – for energy efficiency at the Mayfair Hotel in Manhattan (since converted into condos).

Supporting PACE-certified businesses

Are you interested in supporting Boulder area businesses that have committed to sustainability practices? You can look through PACE Partners here. You will see that Independent Motors is one of the Certified Partners listed. At Independent Motors, an honest mechanic committed to broad sustainability efforts, 90% of the auto repair we do is repeat business. Meet our staff.

11 Reasons You Should Be More Independent

11 Reasons You Should Be More Independent

The ability to become independent has changed during the digital era. Yes, we can find the answers to many of our problems and advice on how to accomplish tasks, directly from, well, anywhere – so we certainly don’t need to ask other people as many questions if we don’t want to. True independence goes beyond rooting around on the Internet, though. Independence also requires a certain amount of thoughtfulness and mental acuity, along with a personal belief in yourself that you will be OK even if there isn’t someone there to support you.

 

Independence is not always entirely positive: it can lead to isolation and lack of understanding the ways in which we are part of the broader fabric. However, there are many reasons why independence is beneficial. Here are 11 of the most prominent ones:

 

#1 – Self-assurance

 

People who are independent will tend to have a greater belief that they can approach any situation with positive results, notes Joel Brown of Addicted2Success. That is probably because they do not feel that they have to wait for someone’s approval in order to move forward. Strengthening your independence will allow you to explore new terrain that is outside your comfort zone without feeling afraid that you are in waters no one has fully explained to you and that feel unpredictable. When someone has less of a sense of independence, their breadth of experience should be narrower than it is for someone who is not tied up in the specific avenues and activities that have been presented to them by an outside party or by society as a whole. What’s more, as you continue to achieve things that are widely various and require a diverse skillset to accomplish, you will increasingly feel that you can take on any challenge by yourself, taking full responsibility for your success or failure (and using failures as fuel to improve).

 

#2 – Self-discovery

 

When you have proven to yourself that you can be responsible for your own actions and success, rather than feeling that you are leaning on others in order to make progress, you will be able to become exactly the person that you want to be. Once you have determined that you are powerful and that you completely accept yourself, then you will be able to have better relationships (in your career, romantic life, and with your other loved ones).

 

#3 – Lightened load on those around you

 

When you can figure out how to approach your own problems and arrive at your own decisions, you do not need to introduce the stress to your personal relationships. You also are not poorly impacting the society by failing to be responsible for your own actions since you are essentially establishing ownership of your life.

 

#4 – Improved decision-making ability

 

It becomes quite a bit simpler and more straightforward to decide the direction you want to take when you have determined that you are the ultimate responsible party who will get the greatest benefit or damage from the choice you make. When you rely on others for support, whether financial or emotional, you may have trouble figuring out the best way to go since others’ funds and hearts will be impacted. While it is helpful to think about the perspectives of others when you are deciding what you want to do, it is not easy to decide which option makes sense when you are worried about how another person will feel about it – or will possibly be hurt by it.

 

#5 – Broader perspective

 

When you feel that you are just one in a large group of people, you may have trouble looking at things from different angles. Broad thinking becomes easier when you are out by yourself, letting your thoughts wander and coalesce. “It’s good to be yourself sometimes and just think,” notes personal improvement site Hello Beautiful. Of course, independent thought is not just about being in a different physical space. When you move around, whether physically or intellectually, you will find different types of solutions that might have been concealed to you if you were more stationary or dependent.

 

#6 – Better value of your assistance

 

Having to get help from another person is not always negative; for example, asking for help finding a product in the store can be much more efficient than wandering around trying to find it yourself. On the other hand, if you can solve problems on your own and choose to do that, it can allow you to both care for yourself and help out other people as well. “People learn to trust you as a beneficial resource and look to you for assistance,” explains Darin L. Hammond in Lifehack.

 

#7 – Creativity

 

When you are truly independent, you are able to allow yourself to move freely in your daily life, as well as within your mind. With your thoughts less conformist and reliant on what has already been said or accepted, creativity flows more freely. Creativity has different applications, but one of them is business innovation.

 

#8 – Self-improvement

 

When you can really start to leverage all of the different capabilities at your disposal, you can self-actuate. There is self-improvement in terms of your response to anything that happens. You will more easily manage your feelings when you feel anxious, frustrated, or dangerously impulsive. This better control of your emotions allows you to optimize yourself interpersonally too.

 

#9 – Freedom of motion

 

No one wants to feel that they are stuck within a specific group or city. When you are independent, you can better do the things and be in the places that you want. By being able to get outside social and geographical structures, you are better able to pursue your goals and build toward success that would not previously have been possible.

 

#10 – Boost in happiness and reduction in stress

 

You do not need other people’s help in order to process things emotionally if you are an independent person – so you will be less likely to dump your problems on those around you. Now keep in mind that independence is an ideal and not a pragmatic goal as a totality; however, while all of us do need others, it is not necessary to burden other people so substantially with our issues when we are more independent.

 

#11 – Greater financial stability

 

The skills and knowledge that you develop and gather through an independent perspective will allow you to pay for everything you need today and put away some for the years ahead.

 

Independence in the context of auto repair

 

To see how independence relates to the car repair industry, we can look to a 2015 survey from Consumer Reports. The magazine polled its readers on their satisfaction levels with work performed on their cars. The survey gathered data from owners of 121,000 cars, with 41,000 taken to independent shops and 80,000 taken to franchises. The results for the independent mechanics were much more impressive on numerous factors, including the key ones of the quality of the job and accuracy of the initial time estimate. People were also more pleased with the friendliness of the staff and how much they were charged at independent shops. Beyond all these specific factors, independent mechanics scored higher on general satisfaction ratings as well.

 

Would you like to become more independent? At Independent Motors, we certainly embrace that value – as well as honesty. We tell each of our customers exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it. See our history and beliefs.