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Roseville companies go for the green

By: Lauren Weber, The Press-Tribune
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For companies that want to go green, it takes more than just recycling aluminum cans and turning off the computers at night. Although those steps do help, it's not that easy to be certified green. Many companies across the country are making conscientious efforts to make their businesses environmentally friendly and the Sacramento Sustainable Business program recently certified Roseville's REI and The Mechanics Bank for going the extra mile. To become certified, companies must meet one of the five categories “ energy conservation, water conservation, pollution prevention, solid waste reduction and accommodations to the actual building structure to qualify as green. Within each of the five categories, businesses must complete at least five measures within the main grouping to become official. According to Jennifer Wohlfrom, coordinator for the Sacramento Sustainable Business program, receiving certification to be a green building is the most difficult. The complications arise especially in older buildings that have strict landlord guidelines. To receive green certification the business has to meet criteria such as installing recycled construction material, skylights or solar tubes and painting exterior walls and the roof white to reflect heat. People are really into green right now, Wohlfrom said. REI on Galleria Boulevard is one such business that achieved green certification in addition to being recognized for its efforts in water conservation and solid waste reduction. The Mechanics Bank located at 2251 Douglas Blvd. received certification for energy conservation, pollution prevention and solid waste reduction. Bob Owens, a manager with the Roseville REI, said being green is all part of the company's sustainable practices as a whole. According to REI's corporate Web site, REI donates millions of dollars every year toward conservation efforts, determined to reduce its environmental footprint. For REI, one of our core values is to be sustainable, Owens said. I think a lot of our customers are sensitive to issues like that. We sell things to people to go into the outdoors. REI also participates in a program where employees and customers can recycle batteries and they have recycling bins in all the employee areas, according to Owens. The Mechanics Bank initially began reducing the company's carbon footprint within their Bay Area offices. From there, other locations, including those in Roseville and Rocklin, took notice and joined in. We had to change all of our cleaning products and crews to be environmentally-friendly, said Amy Mathews, area manager for The Mechanics Bank in Roseville. Product changes were the most significant modification the bank had to make to reduce the business' carbon footprint, Mathews said. She also said the bank was already doing things to help out such as recycling and minimal light use after and before work hours. Many employees are so enthused with the program that they are taking tips to implement at home and bringing advice from home to the office. In addition to wanting to conserve natural resources, one of the primary reasons The Mechanics Bank decided to get involved with the program was to give back to their neighborhood. We realized it was something that fits our culture, Mathews said. A community bank is just about that, on all levels. “ For more information, call 649-0225 or go to www.sacramentosustainablebusiness.org.