Featured Businesses

Featured Green Businesses

Discretion Brewing Leading the Charge

For the owners of Discretion Brewing in Santa Cruz, becoming a certified Green Business was a “no brainer”. We recently got to have a behind the scenes tour of one of the more popular local breweries in Santa Cruz and talked with co-owner Dustin Vereker. As Dustin noted, “We are extremely proud to be one of the first certified green breweries in California. We’ve worked hard and invested in sustainability programs and it feels great to have those efforts validated through the Green Business program!”

Breweries and tap rooms are one of the fastest growing sectors in California with 13+ in Santa Cruz County alone. Standing out in this type of competitive market is key and Dustin notes that one of the many benefits of getting certified was that it provided a clear, easy way to market themselves as sustainable in a community that generally values that commitment. As Dustin noted, “Customers seem to appreciate the 3rd party validation the green business program offers. Lots of folks claim sustainability, but it’s a difficult thing to verify and measure from the consumer standpoint. Being a certified green business gives more credence to our sustainability claims.”

Additional benefits also included a decrease in their water usage, an increase in the amount of waste diverted from the landfill and an increase in energy efficiency through the integration of solar and more efficient lighting fixtures.

We asked Dustin to share his thoughts with us on what he’d say to any local business owners that are considering getting certified, “It’s a great program and the cost of certification is $0. If you are already a green minded business, you are likely 90% of the way there already. The other 10% with produce nearly instant ROI and you’ll be doing your part to ensure people will be able to enjoy this beautiful planet for generations to come.”

We are proud to have one of the first certified Green Business breweries in the state (and nation) right here in Santa Cruz County. We are even more proud to know local business owners like Dustin who are not only committed to sustainable practices but are also excited to share the benefits they’ve achieved through their green business practices in hopes of encouraging other business owners to participate.

Check out some of the magic captured at our tour of Discretion Brewing thanks to Dock Film.

Gino’s Carco Santa Cruz: A Recruitment Champion!

If you’ve come to any Green Business events over the last 10+ years, you’ve likely had the pleasure of meeting Gino who owns Gino’s Carco Santa Cruz. Gino has a contagious smile and it’s hard not to feel inspired by his passion for the Green Business Program. On Earth Day 2004 at the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program kick-off ceremony, Gino’s was honored to be the only business of its kind (local and statewide) to receive the first Certified Green Business Award. Since then, he’s been lighting the way for other local businesses to join the program by offering support and encouragement. Just in the last couple of months, Gino has single-handedly helped recruit 5 new businesses to the program! We recently got to talk with Gino about his motivation to join the program initially and what he would recommend to other business owners inspired to help recruit others to join the program.

What first motivated you to become certified?

In 2003 we welcomed being recognized and approached by the newly formed Monterey Bay Area Certified Green Business Program for our existing Sustainable Green Business Initiatives our Environmental Signs of Care and Track Record.  It was evident the Program’s intent and approach was to elevate environmental awareness and to advance our efforts to further reduce our carbon footprint for us that was and still is a perfect partnership.

How have you been helping out recently to get other businesses certified? 

Shortly after becoming Certified we soon recognized the benefits and importance of the Program and have been encouraging businesses to join ever since.  Now as a member of the Green Business Resource Development Committee I have been actively engaging with businesses owners and managers breaking down the barrier, allay their trepidation and explain the Program is incentive based and not regulatory in a one-on-one conversation in person, by telephone, email and from time to time at their request a site visit in an advisory capacity to offer suggestions to help pave the way towards Certification.

What would you say to encourage another certified business owner to help recruit new businesses to the program?

Simply start the conversation whether it be in person, by phone or email and recognize and compliment the potential Green Business signs of care however small and explain why you think they would be the right fit for the Program.  Highlight the Program Benefits for example, the Program is Free to join, they will be recognized as a Green Business Leader, they will receive recognition by the County Board of Supervisors and or City Council. They will also conserve water and energy, reduce waste and pollution, it will improve employee morale and productivity, their business will have free promotion on the Green Business website and social media, they will also have a marketing edge over the competition, they will participate in a vibrant green global economy which is helping to make our environment safe and healthier for our families and our local community the place we enjoy and call home. In addition to all the Program Benefits they receive including strengthening the bottom line they will genuinely feel part of something bigger by joining the Green Business Community which is Good for their Business and Great for the Environment.

Additional thoughts on the program and its benefits

On Earth Day 2004 at the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program kick-off ceremony we were honored to be the only Business of its kind Local and Statewide to receive the First Certified Green Business Award, Recognition from the California State Assembly and California State Senate in honor of receiving Ecology Action’s 2004 Green Business Award at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chambers.

Sustainability is the very foundation and the core principal of our Recycling Business.  We believe our business longevity and being a Certified Green Business has set us apart and given us a unique platform and a successful marketing edge in our Industry.  As a Pioneer Recycler and Environmental Advocates we value the importance of being a Certified Green Business and the positive feedback from our loyal customers confirms they prefer to shop at a Certified Green Business.  Together with our green conscientious customers we are participating in the circular green economy that is saving the environment one recycled auto part at a time.

A Newly Certified Business Shares Thoughts on the Process & Motivation

We are excited to welcome Revolution Gym & Wellness to the Green Business Program! Revolution Gym & Wellness is a new neighborhood gym and wellness club in Watsonville. When Founder Logan Frahm, D.C. decided to bring his skills as a Chiropractic Doctor into a health club environment, he envisioned a high-energy, inspiring alternative to the  warehouse-style gyms across town. We chatted with Logan about his motivation to become certified and his experience having just gone through the process. Here’s what he had to say:

Why did you become a certified Green Business?  It just made sense from a business perspective with lowering operating costs, and at the same time helping to reduce our energy consumption footprint.  The resources available made it a really easy decision for us.

How did the process of getting certified go for you? The process was very thorough and increased our awareness so much. The process was lengthy, but you get a lot of support along the way.

What benefits do you anticipate now that you are a certified business? We anticipate reduced energy consumption and more customers biking to our facility.

What are some anticipated rewards of being a certified business? I think we will be rewarded by making our community aware that we care about the environment in which we live and being a leader in our community.

What advice would you give to other businesses to encourage them to get certified? I would say go to the website and go through the application process and utilize the programs available to businesses to become more energy efficient.  One of the biggest steps I would say is getting the energy efficient lighting completed.  As business people we are always trying to find ways to decrease operating costs and this step can cut your energy bill significantly and at the same time help the environment.  Theres are rebates that most businesses can qualify for to get this done.

Any other thoughts you want to share? I would say that the whole process from filling out the application and then speaking to a representative who comes out to your business and walks through your business  is really an educational experience and can only enhance your business and your status as a leader in the community.

Local Company Highlights Benefits of Getting Certified
We recently sat down with Leslie Capozzi from Totlcom, a telecommunications equipment supplier based in Watsonville. Totlcom is one of the largest IT companies serving Central and Northern California and have been in business for over 40 years. Here’s what Leslie shared about recently getting her company certified:
I practiced green business principles way before we got our business Totlcom certified. While I’ve always been very conscious of what I consume and dispose, the importance of water conservation was brought home to me recently as part of a homeowners’ association in Silicon Valley. Our water bills were astronomical due to continuous irrigation of lawn and a pond that drained right to the water table. We turned off the water, received a water district rebate to replace the lawn with drought tolerant plants, and cut our water bill in half. When I moved to Aptos last year, I looked for other people who cared about our planet and became involved in the Green Business Program. I met really nice people and worked to recruit new businesses to the program – and then I decide we better certify Totlcom as a green business too!
Becoming green certified was a simple process. It turned out that our company was already pretty green, and other than upgrading a toilet and some lights there was not too much that we had to do. We found that it was more about educating people and changing and tweaking habits and mindsets, like turning of a light switch, reporting a leaky faucet, providing an extra recycling can, or buying green products that are not abusive to air, water or employees.
When a company goes green it shows its employee that the company cares about them. No one wants to work in a dirty, polluted environment that could elevate the potential for health issues, depression and fatigue. The other thing I noticed was that after going green, people start thinking more about their own health and what they put in their bodies.

The Green Business Program also creates a community. With the Green Business phone app, Shop Green, and online Directory, you can choose to shop at other like-minded environmentally friendly businesses. And yes, most are locally-owned, family-run businesses, not large corporations.

My advice is to sign up now. You’ll be amazed at the transformation you’ll see in your employees and yourself. We only have one Earth and we need to take care of it.

Tips from Santa Cruz County’s First Green Business

The Shadowbrook has been a favorite and world-famous restaurant destination since 1947. And though its roots are a log cabin built some time during the early 1920’s and though much of the facility today is ‘vintage’ post-war construction the restaurant has been most progressive and modern when it comes to green business practices. In fact, Shadowbrook was the very first business in Santa Cruz County to earn the Green Business designation. And among the many awards and recognitions the restaurant has received over nearly 70-years of operation this is one that brings them immense pride and satisfaction.

Owner Ted Burke (left) General Manager John Skinner (right)

The restaurant has enjoyed a reputation and long history of unique and innovative practices when dealing with its foodservice challenges so it was not unusual to see the restaurant commit itself in the same way when dealing with its environmental practices and opportunities. As is true for most of progress made in business, it is best achieved when there is a partnership with the community and a win-win solution can be forged. And, thus, the restaurant has been aggressive to identify and implement green practices whenever it can.

One of the more unique practices that Shadowbrook has implemented includes a series of water tanks wrapped in hollow coils that captured the hot gas exhausts of the restaurant’s many refrigeration compressors. This resulted in cooler running compressors that extended their operating life as well as providing “free” pre-heated water for domestic and dishwashing use that took water temperatures from 55 degrees in-ground to about 110 degrees in the holding tanks before then being boosted by a boiler to a sanitary 180 degrees. This saved both the cost and use of natural gas for the restaurant’s hot water needs. Some of this preheated hot water is even used to heat certain areas of the restaurant with warm, ambient heat.

Since the present ownership took over the business in 1978 the Shadowbrook has carried out a number of noteworthy environmental achievements, including many firsts. In the early 70’s and long before it became fashionable Shadowbrook constructed a turf roof over its kitchen which still is today a source of home-grown vegetables and herbs for the Chef. And at a time well before the drought began, the Shadowbrook worked with a neighbor to transform their most outlying parking lot from the typical wood chip covered lot to a formal landscaping area utilizing drought-tolerant plants. The restaurant was the first restaurant in Capitola to recycle its glassware and to initiate a compost program for its food wastes. And lastly, another first for Capitola was the installation of waterless urinals in the men’s room. Today, motion-activated faucets are used in all restrooms.

There are many more projects to list and many more that we hope to achieve in the years ahead. However, one thing remains constant:  That is, our commitment by action rather than words to respect the environment wherever possible and demonstrate that such commitment can also enhance both beauty and function of this wonderful property and business.

Written by: Shadowbrook Owner Ted Burke and General Manager John Skinner

Community Leaders and the First Green Certified Bike Shop in Santa Cruz County


Like many of our Green Businesses, Scotts Valley Cycle Sport owners were motivated to become Certified because of their involvement in their community. They are currently the only certified bike shop in all of Santa Cruz County. When I asked owners Andrew and Brittany Cavaletto why they wanted to green their operations, they linked it back to their lifestyle.

“We are already in a business where we try to ride a bike as much as we can, saving gas, preventing pollution, all that. We wanted to translate that into more efficiencies in our every day life, and the Green Business Program helped us do it.”

I sat down to interview these two cool young bike enthusiasts to drill down into the vibe of their shop, and the changes they made to be certified. Below is the transcript from the interview.

Q: What is the most fun part about being a community bike store?
A: Watching people get into cycling and then seeing them get really stoked on it. Seeing them go from just starting out and then having it completely change their lifestyle is really rewarding. People come into the shop a little timid at first and each time they come back they’re more stoked and more confident. That’s the best reward for us.

Q: What was the hardest thing you had to do to be certified?
A: Filling out the online application was tricky, but a little tip for other businesses: if you leave the application pending, the people who run the Green Business Program come to you and help you!

Q: What was the easiest thing you had to do to be certified?
A: We’re in a newer building so all the lighting and plumbing stuff was already dialed so that was good, but we did have to make a conscious effort to be lest wasteful.

Q: In your opinion, how could the bike industry be more sustainable?
A: If our local cities embraced biking more, making it easier to get around town, making the current routes less challenging, we’d have a lot more people out of their cars and getting around by bike. Adding more areas to ride, making sure new developments are built surrounding bike and pedestrian infrastructure is really important right now.

Q: What is the coolest thing you guys sell?
A: A lifestyle! No, but if you pin us down to a product, then maybe electric bikes. They’re pretty cool. We have customers that switched from driving a car everywhere because their commute was 10-20 miles and now they are ONLY riding their bikes.

Q: What is the weirdest thing you guys sell?
A: Butt butter (aka chamois cream).

Q: What else do you guys do besides help people with their biking lifestyle and greening your business?
A: We’ve been lucky enough to support several winning bike teams. We coach the high school cross-country mountain bike team and the kids won the California State championships last year. We’re also involved in a middle school club team. We have a road team, a cyclo cross team and a California Enduro team. We just won the California Enduro state champs. It’s pretty cool to have a great group of committed athletes.


Written by: Jo Fleming with the California Green Business Program

Q&A with Monterey Green Hotel the InterContinental

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Intercontinental, The Clement Monterey is a 208 room hotel in Monterey located at 750 Cannery Row that opened in the Spring of 2008 and has been a green business since 2009. From January to July of 2016, they have had 38,000 visitors, and diverted 44,500 pounds of compost, 36,500 lbs of mixed recyclables plus 13,500 lbs of cardboard. Due to their extensive commitment to environmental protection, we took a moment to chat with Richard Julian, the Purchasing Manager at the hotel, to discuss a bit about what being a Green Business (GB) means to them.

Q: Why did you become a GB?
A: Well, first and foremost it’s the right thing to do.  Our owners wanted to implement this program right at the beginning of opening of the hotel, which was back in 2008.  We were one of three hotels that had implemented this opportunity in the city of Monterey.

Q: How has being a GB benefited your business?
A: We as a hotel have a greater appreciation and knowledge of being an environmental property and our Staff have also benefited in their own personal ways. Over time our financial statements have shown greater savings as we have implemented these new ways. In addition our County and the State of California have also gained from these challenges.

Q: What is the most challenging part of being a GB?
A: Being consistent as new employees come on board, training is the key factor.  Monitoring the program to make sure it goes in the right direction.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a GB?
A: Knowing that we do make a difference by having this program in place.  The fact that we separate the cardboard; paper products; cans and plastic from the trash which doesn’t get to the landfill, makes our team here at the hotel very pleased.  When our guests see that we take the time to separate and try to reduce our waste, or if we are trying to reduce our water consumption, guests do notice and many appreciate it, especially the Californians.

Q: What advice would you give to other businesses that are considering becoming a GB?
A: Work with your local waste hauler, as well as the local water & electrical companies to see what actions can be done.  Then, institute a group in your business as the Environmental Team or group to assist the business to implement and record the changes.

Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: Be sure that you have support from your upper management and owners as they encourage the team to find better ways to save energy and hopefully see a financial difference.

For more information about the Intercontinental, please visit their website at:



New Leaf Community Markets Renews Green

New Leaf Community Markets recently recertified all of their Santa Cruz County stores as Green Businesses. New Leaf is proud to be the first grocer in the county to be certified as a Green Business. They continue to push the envelope by finding additional ways to improve their operations and service to the community to make them even more sustainable and eco-friendly.

The Santa Cruz County’s Green Business Certification Program  was designed to encourage businesses to meet and exceed environmental standards, while conserving natural resources. Every year, the County Board of Supervisors recognizes those businesses that have gone above and beyond to meet the criteria to become a certified Green Business.

In addition to meeting all of the county’s Green Business requirements in HVAC, lighting, energy, recycling, environmental-friendly practices and water use, among other requirements, New Leaf is a Certified B Corporation. B Corps are for-profit companies, certified by the nonprofit B Lab, that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. To consistently meet the stringent certification standards, New Leaf tracks their impact on food waste, water usage, supplier sustainability, and other areas that affect environmental performance.

New Leaf Westside Santa Cruz

“We’re always looking for new ways to engage our staff and community in how to be more environmentally aware,” said Greg Weaver, New Leaf facilities director. “It takes team work and conscious effort to reduce our use of resources. We plan on building green teams at our stores to keep employees educated and always thinking about new ways to improve sustainability,” he added.

Chris Krohn, one of New Leaf’s facilities technicians, serves as the company’s Green Business Certification lead. Krohn recently completed numerous updates to improve electrical energy efficiency. For example, the lighting at the Capitola 41st Avenue location was retrofitted with LEDs to replace lower efficiency florescent bulbs. Fortunately, many New Leaf locations were built using T8 florescent bulbs that are already high in efficiency, but every store is receiving upgrades on an individual basis.

Chris Krohn, New Leaf’s Tacilities Technicians
Chris Krohn, New Leaf’s Facilities Technician

Another area where New Leaf has made improvements in resource conservation is water usage. Low-flow sprayers in dishwashing rooms have cut water use by two-thirds, and low-flow toilets and sink aerators been installed in all New Leaf stores.

New Leaf is also taking steps to reduce energy lost in heating and cooling systems by installing new doors on multi-shelf refrigerated cases. “These doors not only eliminate wasted refrigeration while it competes against the store’s heating system, they also help to extend the life of the case because it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain temperature,” explained Krohn.

Another exciting conservation effort that New Leaf is leading is a food scrap composting program to keep food scraps out of the landfill. New Leaf is exploring a partnership with the City of Capitola to educate customers and staff on composting, and create a collection location within the store. “Signage at the waste receptacles will be important to help educate customers as to what goes into which bin to avoid confusion,” said Weaver.

sarahenvirotokenNew Leaf’s commitment to being green goes well beyond conserving resources within its facilities; their commitment is carried out through their mission of giving back to the community as well. During April New Leaf will kick off another year of their Envirotoken program, a pioneering initiative launched in 1993. This program has not only raised over $543,289 for local non-profits working to support the environment, it has saved close to 9,000 trees as a result of customers reusing bags over 6 million times. (Customers receive tokens worth 10 cents for each grocery bag they reuse, and then drop the tokens in the box of the nonprofit of their choice as they exit.) New Leaf was the first retailer on the Central Coast to introduce this kind of program, and since then many other retailers in the county and across the country have followed suit.


Q&A with the Ultimate Recycler

IMG_3038_cropThis quarter’s featured business is Ed’s Alloy Recycling in Watsonville. Ed came to the U.S. from Argentina in 1985 after winning a lottery that granted him a visa to live and work here permanently.

A natural entrepreneur, Ed had been a vegetable seller in Argentina, but wanted to try something different here. Through a friend, he learned the business of auto parts scavenging and now owns Ed’s Alloy Recycling in Watsonville, where he collects over 10 to 50 tons of metal a month.

Ed runs the business together with his son, Gianfranco, collecting the metal that comes to them in many forms. The day we visited there was an ornate, brass chandelier, a pet crate, and a gas grill, in addition to the usual lengths of copper wire, tire rims, and old catalytic converters.

Q: Do you have a lot cool, metal stuff at home?
A: (Laughing) I’m not allowed to decorate my home anymore. Actually, the rule is that I’m not allowed to bring home anything that doesn’t work.

Q: These metal dog crates look like they’re in very good shape, do you sell or reuse items like that?
A: Yes, absolutely, I can sell them at the flea market. Many of the tires that come in on the metal rims have a lot miles left on them so I put them aside for my friends.

IMG_2970Q: What happens to the items that can’t be sold or reused?
A: They go to a foundry in Oakland, where the metal is melted down and recast.

Q: What made you decide to become a Green Business?
A: Someone was interested in buying my business and they wanted it to be certified “green”. We didn’t end up selling to them, but I went through the process to become a certified Green Business anyway.

Q: Was it difficult to become a certified Green Business?
A: No! It was a piece of cake. Almost everything I do is about reuse or recycling, so it was easy and the process was simple.

IMG_3015Q: Did you learn anything about water or energy conservation by going the Green Business certification process that you didn’t already know?
A: Yes, I put those aerators on my faucets, because you don’t need so much water for hand washing, I learned how to check for toilet leaks, and how to manage the spills from leaky engines better. Now I keep engine parts that might have fluids covered or inside, so they can’t mix with rainwater and go down the storm drain and into the creeks.

Q: Okay, one last question: what is the most unusual item that someone has brought to you?
A:  Oh yeah, somebody once brought a bomb. It was one made just for training, but still, it was bomb.


Special thanks to photographer Lauren McEvoy

Ed’s Alloy Recycling
1705 Freedom Blvd
Watsonville, California
Phone: 408-472-4726

Healthcare Going Green – Palo Alto Medical Foundation

The Santa Cruz County’s Green Business Certification Program is an incentive-based program designed to encourage businesses to meet and exceed environmental standards, while conserving natural resources. Every year, the County Board of Supervisors recognizes those businesses that have gone above and beyond to meet the criteria to become a certified Green Business.

SH_ABSMC_2lines_clr_rgb_live_typeThe Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), part of Sutter Health, is one of those businesses. PAMF has been recognized as one of the top places to work and leading health care organizations in the Bay Area. Delivering high quality health care with a commitment to the communities PAMF serves are key priorities to their organization. That includes focusing on key environmental concerns. With sustained effort and innovative approaches, PAMF Santa Cruz has now incorporated this awareness into its corporate culture. Under the initiative of Tom Hart, VP of Facility Planning and Development, its executives adopted guidelines for employees and providers to allow them achieve best practices in the areas of green building and sustainability in their daily work flow.

PAMF-001For the past five years, PAMF has relentlessly been working on achieving its Green Business Certification. So far, it has achieved the certification at five of their clinical centers located in Capitola, Aptos, Commercial Crossing, Dominican Way and Chanticleer Avenue in Santa Cruz. Their ultimate goal is to obtain its Green Business Certification at all sites in Santa Cruz County. In the meantime, all of PAMF sites in the County of Santa Cruz have already adopted as many of the basic tenets of the program as possible, which is already producing a substantial decrease in their environmental footprint. Just to illustrate, all new construction projects meet current local, state and federal Green Building requirements in HVAC, lighting, energy, recycling, environmental-friendly practices and water use guidelines, among other requirements. They continue to retrofit older buildings with LED lighting systems and will soon be implementing solar solutions. While exceeding at meeting current medical and biohazard waste codes, PAMF has also revamped its system of color coded bins to include recycle bins, plastic bag collection bins and has introduced the quart-size trash can.

PAMF has been a pioneer on collecting unused medications by voluntarily funding a system of drop-off bins for patients’ unused prescriptions and the pick-up/disposal of those drugs at five clinics. They partnered with the county to ensure compliant procedures and offer educational materials to promote the appropriate disposal of needles and expired medications. The county recently began providing labor and costs for the pickup/disposal portion and is helping PAMF to expand the program to more clinics.

Featured Article - PAMFTo further provide green solutions in the office environment, PAMF has reviewed the life cycle of items they purchase, their impact to the environment and how they enter our waste stream. A system was created to swap office supplies before purchasing new. Junk mail reduction campaign reduced the quantity of junk mail from three bins a week to one bin a month. Over half a million dollars in used medical equipment has been donated to local charities and international NGOs. Scanning and e-faxing have reduced paper usage by 30% in some areas. PAMF partners with many vendors who are also Green Business Certified, including construction, catering and janitorial vendors. In order to reduce Greenhouse gases, they have added bike racks, bike lockers, installed electric vehicle charging stations at their offices and offer incentives for employees to use alternative commute options.

Each office or department has a designated Green Team to assist with their green efforts. These teams meet throughout the year to gauge progress, address issues, offer support and brainstorm solutions. In the Green Corner of their weekly internal employee e-newsletter they run “spotlights” with green tips and award “green staff stars” to employees who have excelled at contributing to green efforts. Anna-Kim Aleris, who led the coordination of the Green Business Certification at all 5 PAMF sites says this, “We will continue to be dedicated to integrating sustainability into our mission to enhance the well-being of the people in the communities we serve”.

This is just an example of the many businesses that have gone above and beyond to conserve resources and green their business practices. If you are a business owner we would like to invite to participate and if you are a resident of the County we ask you to support your local Green Businesses.