EnviroStars, Washington’s green business program, has helped more than 150 businesses of all sizes and types improve their sustainability during the program’s first year. 57 Seattle-based businesses are participating so far.
The program connects businesses with local environmental assistance, resources and utility rebates. Businesses earn EnviroStars recognition by taking steps to green their facilities and operational practices such as replacing inefficient lighting with LEDs, composting food scraps and switching to safer cleaning products.
“Seattle’s small businesses continue to innovate while creating a more sustainable future. Our businesses of all sizes are leading the way to create a cleaner city and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “It will take all of us—consumers, businesses, and government leaders—working together to realize our vision of a sustainable, equitable, and robust economy that will thrive for generations to come.”
EnviroStars helps businesses implement best practices that save energy and water, generate less waste and pollution, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions – choices that are both good for business and good for Washington’s environment.
The City of Seattle has helped 57 businesses improve their environmental practices and gain recognition through EnviroStars, including Hellbent Brewing Co. in Lake City.
“We’re pleased we joined Envirostars because our owners, staff, and customers all highly value a clean, sustainable way of living,” said Jack Guinn, Co-Owner of Hellbent Brewing. “Brewing is a fairly resource-intensive business, so it’s been great having professional help minimizing our environmental footprint. Envirostars patiently evaluated our water usage and waste disposal practices and showed us areas we could improve—saving us money and giving everybody peace of mind.”
This year, Hellbent Brewing Co. installed a solar energy system on its roof with the help of Seattle-based Sphere Solar Energy and found other resource-saving measures through Envirostars, with guidance from the Office of Economic Development. Hellbent Brewing now boasts the largest solar energy system on a brewery in Washington, generating about 30 percent of its own energy. Thanks to an incentive program from Seattle Public Utilities, Hellbent Brewing is also installing a new clean-in-place brewing system, which will reduce their yearly water bill by $3,000.
Consumers can visit EnviroStars.org to find businesses of all types that share their environmental values, whether they’re looking for a brewery, auto body shop, insurance agency—or, even an international treasure hunting game, in the case of Envirostars-recognized Geocaching HQ.
“EnviroStars has inspired us as a company to up-level our environmental efforts, building upon what we were already doing. Since enrollment, we’ve started an internal Green Team and made effective changes to our facilities and operations. What we’re most excited about is the two tree planting events we’re hosting in the fall to help offset our carbon footprint from employee travel,” said Maria McDonald, Facilities and Operations Manager at Geocaching HQ.
For some Envirostars members, such as the Woodland Park Zoo, conservation is part of their core mission. “Envirostars helps the zoo manage the impact of our daily operations, showcase our sustainability efforts to a broader audience and connect to like-minded companies and organizations,” said Zosia Brown, Resource Conservation and Sustainability Supervisor at Woodland Park Zoo. “Sustainability is core to our new strategic mission, to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives. We know that we can achieve much more by collaborating with community partners, and so are thrilled to be a founding member of this program and to see it continue to expand.”
Well-known Washington staples such as Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, Tom Douglas restaurants, and Fremont Brewing have joined EnviroStars, along with many more small businesses like Villa Jerada, a Seattle business specializing in Moroccan and Levantinian artisanal products, and Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in White Center.
“We always wanted to do more to be eco-friendly and reduce waste in all its forms as much as we could,” said Mehdi Boujrada, owner of Villa Jerada. “We reuse all of our raw material packaging to transport finished products to customers, and we even use the plastic packaging bags to line our trash cans. We look forward to working with Envirostars on our next goals: switching to eco-friendly packaging for our spices, and creating a campaign to market the change to our customers.”
“I started working with EnviroStars over at my old shop on Vashon Island in the mid-90s and I’ve been a member ever since. There was a voucher through King County and a rebate through Seattle City Light. I was able to upgrade all the lights in my bike shop to LEDs, which use one-third less energy, and it is quite a bit brighter. The project cost me a total of $33,” said Aaron Goss, owner of Aaron’s Bicycle Repair.
The City of Seattle supports EnviroStars as part of a coalition of 21 Washington cities, counties, utilities, and local public health jurisdictions reaching from Whatcom County to Pierce County.