Repairing Auto-Body Repair
Image source: Clean Green Collision
We've heard of do-it yourself car repair to save money and the planet. Heading over to a local junkyard to find replacement parts is a great way to recycle. But, an actual green auto-body shop? Who knew. Clean Green Collision in Oakland, CA now offers what may be the first green auto repair.
Some of the best ideas come from personal experience, and that is the story of Clean Green Collision. Owner Jacque Andres had an intense reaction after driving away from the car lot with a newly purchased car. He realized that the car was recently painted and that particulates and emissions made their way into the interior of the car and eventually into his lungs. From that moment on, he vowed to clean up auto body repair and Clean Green Collision was born. Nowadays, Andres makes sure to seal all vents first thing so that paint particles due not enter the interior of the car and harm customers. You don't get that "freshly painted smell" inside your car when you leave the shop.
Carcinogens like isocyanates, methylene chloride, toluene and xylene are commonly used in body shops. Eliminating these benefits the customers and the environment, but actually benefits the employees more than anyone, who have daily, acute exposure to the toxins. Andres hopes that he can not only offer a better product to customers but also that by making a profitable, eco-friendly body shop, he will force other shops to clean up their act too in order to compete. The shop offers a 5 year warranty on the paint job, proving that they stand by their eco-product and that it can compete with other methods.
So how did Andres do it? Well, partly by redesigning the shop and inventing several collection and filtration systems to complete his vision. Aside from the usual recycling, and changing out lightbulbs and other common-place "green" practices, the shop deconstructed auto-body repair to pinpoint areas to improve.
The shop uses water-borne paints, with low VOC content, that are air dried and thus eliminate the need for solvents. A UV-curing system also eliminates the need for solvents. Andres designed a multi-stage dust filter, called an "eco-plenum" that recirculates and captures the sanding and the paint-booth emissions. He also added additional ceiling dust filters to capture additional dust releases. All car parts and paint are either recycled or properly disposed of.
Well aware that water is a scarce resource in California, the shop installed high-pressure hoses to eliminate water used and now uses biodegradable soaps. All water is filtered before it leaves the shop via drains. The shop is also a Certified Green Business in Alameda County.
Andres has spent 25 years in the auto industry getting degrees in auto engineering, designing specific aerodynamic and suspension systems and racing mini coopers. Clean Green Collision opened in 2004 and has been cleaning up its auto act ever since. ::Clean Green Collision
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