Release 09-108
December 2, 2009

    Stanley Young
cell 916-956-9409

California's best climate-smart small businesses recognized
Awards given to top 27 businesses, organizations that saved money and cut carbon emissions

SACRAMENTO-The California Air Resources Board announced the winners today of the state's first program to recognize small businesses that have demonstrated exceptional success in saving money while cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

ARB Chairman Mary Nichols, ARB Small Business Ombudsman La Ronda Bowen, and President of the California Small Business Association Betty Jo Toccoli recognized 21 recipients of the Small Business of the Year award, and six recipients of the Small Organization of the Year award at a public ceremony held at 3 PM in the Byron Sher Auditorium at the Cal/EPA building in Sacramento.

"California's three million small businesses are not only the backbone of California's economy, they are a crucial part of the state's efforts to fight climate change," said Nichols. "We are proud to partner with them to work together for a healthier environment and help improve their bottom line."

"These winners show how every small business can use common-sense solutions that reduce waste, use less energy and save money," said Betty Jo Toccoli. "I look forward to working with the Air Resources Board to help other small businesses fight climate change and improve their bottom line."

The CoolCalifornia Small Business awards program was established to recognize small California businesses (with less than 100 employees) and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and made notable, voluntary achievements towards reducing their climate impact.

The CoolCalifornia Small Business of the Year awards recognize businesses and organizations that have demonstrated exceptional climate change management practices and climate change communication. The Excellence awards recognize businesses and organizations that have made significant efforts to reduce their impact on the climate.

Recipients come from 23 separate cities. The award winners were selected by judges from the state administration and small business community from a competitive pool of over 100 applicants from across the state.

Applicants took a variety of actions to save money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions including installing compact fluorescent lights or solar panels; supporting car pooling; reducing waste and water consumption; telecommuting and moving office locations to reduce transportation emissions; developing business-specific climate action plans; and incentivizing climate-friendly behavior with employee award programs.

The award program was created to help small businesses participate in the implementation of AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and the AB 32 Scoping Plan adopted by the ARB in December 2008. AB 32 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in September 2006 and calls on California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

More information on the awards program and the winners can be found at



Bowman Design Group, Signal Hill * * Employees: 7
Bowman Design Group conducted a greenhouse gas inventory through membership in The Climate Registry, developed a company-wide sustainability plan, and reduced total greenhouse gas emissions by 65%, with a corresponding cost savings of 30%.
Diamond D General Engineering, Woodland * * Employees:18
Diamond D General Engineering, Inc. went paperless for all project documents, and purchased or rented energy efficient equipment reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 350 tons per year.

Numi Organic Tea, Oakland * * Employees: 30
Numi Organic Tea uses ecological packaging, waste reduction efforts; and an "eco-audit" printed on all cardboard tea boxes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 235 tons per year.

Rent a Green Box , Costa Mesa * * Employees: 17
The company's fleet is 100% bio-fueled trucks and it promoted green employee practices and engaged in impressive outreach. Reductions in 2008 reduced its carbon footprint by 160 tons.

Spirit Graphics, Chula Vista, * * Employees: 12
Spirit Graphics relocated their facility closer to employees' homes, and recycles 100% of their press plates and 90% of their paper waste, saving 40 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.


Ecology Action, Santa Cruz * * Employees: 55
Ecology Action, a nonprofit environmental consultancy developed an internal Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and internal waste, increase energy efficiency and develop employee education programs, reducing its carbon footprint by 12.5 tons in 2008.

High Tech High Chula Vista, Chula Vista * * Employees: 62
A new charter high school, HTHCV installed a 101 kilowatt solar array that offsets 64% of the building's energy use, provides parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles, and encourages carpooling for students.

Irwindale Chamber of Commerce, Irwindale * * Employees: 3
The Irwindale Chamber of Commerce employed a variety of innovations to significantly reduce paper use, and purchased a range of energy efficient EnergyStar office appliances.


Arya Cleaners, Chula Vista * * Employees: 23
Sustainable award-winning dry cleaner with numerous green internal practices instituted staff education and training, and customer services that benefit the community.

BlueStar Refreshment Services, San Jose * * Employees: 12
Refrigeration company that has made great strides to reduce its environmental impact through recycling, re-use and energy efficient cooling technology.

Blue Oak Energy, Davis * * Employees: 26
Renewable energy provider that reduces greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of practices including product choice, renewable energy use and contributing to community outreach.

CenterStone Communities, Santa Ana * * Employees: 12
Real estate development company committed to designing homes that are more
efficient and gentler on the environment.

El Primero Boutique B&B Hotel, Chula Vista * * Employees: 3
Award-winning hotel that instituted a policy for wide-ranging internal initiatives
and practices.

Hesperian Cleaners, San Lorenzo * * Employees: 3
Dry cleaner that converted to a wet cleaning system and educates others on the same

Lafitte Cork and Capsule, Napa * * Employees: 17
Production facility that went solar, adopted energy efficiency and sustainability practices and promotes environmentally-friendly purchasing practices.

The Living Christmas Co., Redondo Beach * * Employees: 20
Rents and delivers living trees to keep the holiday green and environmental.

Meridian Pacific, Inc., Sacramento * * Employees: 20
Campaign management firm that employs policies, practices and management decisions to address climate change and environmental responsibility.

Old Town Trolley Tours, San Diego * * Employees: 75
Tour operator uses vehicles powered by alternative fuels for tours, finished a complete lighting retrofit of their facility (using on-bill financing) and promotes green employee practices.

Puroast Low Acid Coffee, Woodland * * Employees: 17
Energy efficient coffee roaster that uses renewable walnut shells as the roasting fuel.

Premier Auto Tops and Interiors, Santa Clara * * Employees: 5
Upholstery company that reduced its environmental impact through increased insulation, energy efficiency, recycling and product re-use.

Resource Solutions Group, Half Moon Bay * * Employees: 21
Consulting firm that adopted a suite of sustainability practices for office operations and promotes environmentally-friendly practices to customers.

San Diego Office Interiors, San Diego * * Employees: 36
Full-service firm that designs and builds commercial office interiors committed to sustainable design and construction practices and conducts outreach to customers.

Savory & Sweet Catering, Sunnyvale * * Employees: 13
Catering firm that implemented energy efficiency practices, as well as recycling and transportation policies to reduce its climate impact.

Waldeck's Office Supplies, San Francisco * * Employees: 4
Green office supply firm that adopted sustainability practices such as using wind power to offset electricity use, and set up a community recycling center on-site for used batteries, fluorescents, obsolete computer parts, and similar items.


Cool the Earth, Kentfield * * Employees: 8
Organization whose mission is to educate children and families about climate change and motivate them to take simple, measurable actions to reduce carbon emissions at home.

Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco * * Employees: 65
The PPIC built their business to be LEED/Energy Star, adopted sustainability business practices for office operations and promotes alternative transportation.

Sustainable Silicon Valley, San Jose * * Employees: 2
This organization initiated a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve Silicon Valley's environment and resource conservation through the development of a regional environmental management program.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.