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Contractor Makes Mark with ‘Footprint’ Analyisis

Friday, May 14, 2010

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Turman Commercial Painters says it has something in common with business behemoths Wal-Mart, Intel, and Citibank: all are going where relatively few companies have gone before with pioneering environmental initiatives.

Turman, based in Livermore, Calif., says its actions in the environmental arena deserve special notice, in that the company is one of the few businesses in the construction and allied trades to conduct a “carbon-footprint analysis” of its operations.

“This carbon-footprint report gives us the information needed to identify and achieve further reductions in our environmental impact,” Dave Theobald, Turman president and CEO, said in the company’s announcement on the initiative.

Turman says it completed the carbon-footprint analysis as part of an ongoing, multi-pronged strategy to lessen its environmental impact. Theobald sought a detailed “Enterprise Carbon Accounting report” that included Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 analyses. The objective was measuring the total greenhouse gas emissions from all operations, including a breakdown, by percentage, of gases attributable to different portions of the business.

In many carbon-footprint analyses, only Scope 1 emissions are studied—“direct emissions” coming from any company-owned entity including emissions from company vehicles, office heating, and manufacturing, the company said. Scope 2 emissions also include those from upstream “indirect emissions,” such as purchased electricity and steam. A Scope 3 study additionally takes into account upstream “indirect emissions” primarily associated with the value chain, such as employee travel, raw-materials processing, production, contractor vehicles, purchased services, and logistics.

To complete the carbon footprint analysis, Turman Commercial Painters says it turned to the energy carbon accounting firm Climate Earth, of San Francisco. “In order to reduce carbon emissions, you first have to understand their source,” Theobald said. “The carbon footprint report gives us this important information so we can create a benchmark for future studies and take measures that most effectively reduce our carbon footprint, both for our use and to assist clients who are focused on reducing their own environmental impact.”

Turman said carbon studies are rare in the construction trades, although they are not unusual among large corporations. A study by Groom Energy Solutions, a U.S. firm that helps companies reduce energy consumption, estimated that about half of Fortune 500 companies have calculated their carbon footprints. Turman said.

Turman said the carbon-footprint report is one of several actions it has taken that make it a sustainability pioneer. The company says it gives away excess paint to local communities for reuse; has purchased a special water-purification system to eliminate environmental effects of rinsing and washing of equipment; has invested in hybrid vehicles to reduce fuel consumption; uses zero- or low-VOC paints where possible; follows sustainable practices on all jobs; employs web conferencing and limits employee travel to client meetings; uses SharePoint (content management software) to reduce paper use; and has purchased Lifesize HD video conferencing in each office to reduce the need for employee travel.

“It is in our company DNA to do the right thing,” Theobald said in the announcement on the carbon-footprint study. “That translates to how we treat our clients, our employees and the environment.”

Turman and its affiliates provide commercial painting services nationwide, with work in retail, medical, hospitality, and restoration projects, through multiple offices across the country. More information: www.turmaninc.com.

   

Tagged categories: Contractors; Green building; Green coatings; Sustainability

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