Get to know the green businesses of Oakland

This post was written by Michael Fontana, Main Street Launch’s Marketing Intern.


What do a wine bar, a plumbing company, and a dental office have in common? All three of these Oakland businesses are green certified! What we choose to do as businesses and as individuals matters for our planet, so be sure to check out these and any of the several other green certified businesses around Oakland.

The Punchdown

The Punchdown is a green certified wine bar on Broadway in downtown Oakland. Their mission is to make it easier to discover and enjoy natural wines. The bar was founded by co-owners Daniel Loomy and Lisa Costa, who are also married. They have a unique wine selection that adheres to their guidelines of what qualifies as natural wine. A central principle of their philosophy is that vineyards should practice a “more than organic” approach that uses natural farming principles, such as biodynamic and ancestral techniques, and avoids the use of chemicals.

The Punchdown sets themselves apart from other restaurants by conscientiously eliminating excessive waste. They have low-flow water regulators for their sinks and toilets, and use all green cleaning products. They strive to be efficient in all areas of the business, only buying what they need. Their kitchen is small and doesn’t have a walk-in refrigerator, so they shop at the farmers markets and order from their vendors more frequently in order to reduce the need to buy items that will not be used right away.

At the Punchdown, they feel it is their duty to run their business in a sustainable way that considers the well-being of their employees and the community. “Our personal beliefs match with our practices in the way we run a green business,” said Daniel. “Green certifications are a good start to create more awareness and show the community that our values run deeper than just the bottom line.”

Pipe Spy

Pipe Spy is an Oakland-based sewage repair company whose team members have worked locally for over 40 years. In an industry known for having difficulty with disposal of post-production waste, Pipe Spy is a pioneer of green, trenchless plumbing technology in the Bay Area. “Part of the fabric of Pipe Spy is its green commitment. We want to positively contribute to our community,” Ikeena Hardman says.

Pipe Spy has a long history with green technology. The owners met with Oakland city council members, public works, and building inspectors to get trenchless pipe technology permitted for use just after their founding in 1998. Traditional sewer plumbing involves trench digging that can expose workers and the environment to raw sewage, damaged electrical or fiber utility lines, and dangerous gas ruptures. Stabilizing new sewer lines requires fresh soil and an industrial product called ABS, a large gauge gravel which is mined in quarries, often in environmentally unfriendly ways. “With the trenchless process we significantly reduce its use,” said Ikeena. Trenchless piping reduces the use of traditional materials and at the same time introduces new, more eco-friendly materials and techniques.

As a company, Pipe Spy also reduces their environmental impact in other ways. They have solar panels installed on the roof of their offices, green vehicles in their fleet with an in-house charging station, and 90% of their post-project waste is recycled with various local recycling plants for reuse.

To learn more about greener sewer services in the East Bay area, visit www.pipespy.com.

Lake Merritt Dental

Conveniently located in Uptown Oakland, Lake Merritt Dental is a minority- and woman-owned dental office. They provide holistic oral health care services that are both patient-centered and environmentally conscious.

In the dental industry (and health care in general), it is more difficult to reduce negative environmental impacts than in many other industries. “There are lots of regulatory issues that make it hard to cut out plastic and sterilization products. There has not been any sustainability initiative in health care regulation and no attention has been paid to the amount of waste such regulations create,” Lake Merritt Dental’s manager, Paulina Song, explains.

While going green as a health care provider has its challenges, Paulina feels that the certification has made a tangible impact on the environmental footprint of Lake Merritt Dental. They have reduced the use of paper by digitizing their medical records, they buy green cleaning products, and their staff is very conscious of waste disposal. They know that protecting the environment is something their clients care about.

You can learn more about Lake Merritt Dental by visiting their website.

 

There are many green certified businesses throughout the Town! Browse the full list of green businesses in Oakland and demonstrate your values by supporting them. Share your experiences with us on social media @shopoaklandnow!

If you’d like to learn more about what exactly green certification means for businesses, check out this post on Main Street Launch’s blog with more in-depth advice from each of the businesses featured in this article.