How is CVSan Green?

Green Building features at CVSan Offices located at 21040 Marshall Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546:

Our 4,700 square-foot building was completed in November 1997. We are proud that it incorporates environmental building materials and practices, showing that recycled and nontoxic materials can be manufactured into a variety of quality products.

We hope we’ve demonstrated that constructing a “green” office can be cost-competitive and professional-looking as well as better for the environment. We also hope our leadership will support the markets for “green” building materials and practices by increasing demand and thereby decreasing the cost (such as what happened with recycled paper, which used to be more expensive than virgin paper—and is now less costly.)

The building contractor recycled over 2,200 tons of material as required by the contract. The building specifications required the following materials to be recycled:

  • cardboard, paper, and packaging
  • clean dimensional wood and pallet wood
  • land-clearing debris (yard waste and dirt)
  • concrete
  • all metal

CVSan contracted with Beyond Waste, a building deconstruction (construction in reverse) company, to recreate basic building materials from our old 2,100 square-foot office building before it was demolished. Over 8 tons of the following materials were recovered: 3,200 board feet of Douglas fir, plywood, carpet padding, fluorescent lights, doors and jambs, copper fittings, a forced-air heater, a urinal, a mirror and vanity and miscellaneous trim, shelves, and electrical plugs.

80% Recycled Glass Counter Tops -
As you enter the building, don’t miss the reception countertop by Counter/Production, which contains 800 pounds of recycled glass. The green, brown and clear glass came from beverage and other glass containers collected in curbside recycling programs such as Castro Valleys. A similar countertop can be found in the Board Room—this one contains 320 pounds of recycled glass. The bathroom sinks also feature countertops made from 80% recycled glass. The black-and-white glass is post-industrial waste from a glass manufacturer.

Recycled Glass Tile—The foyer, bathrooms, and kitchen are tiled with Traffic Tile, a product manufactured with over 70% post-industrial and post-consumer waste glass. The manufacturer, Terra-Green Technologies, is not only committed to developing products from material that would otherwise be considered waste, but also committed to ensuring that all its products are designed to have zero negative impact on the environment and to be nontoxic to employees and the community as a whole.

Wastepaper Counter Top—The countertop in the workroom, made by ENVIRON™, is a paper composite board made of shredded waste paper, soybean flour and alkali salts. It is half the weight of granite, two-and-a-half times harder than oak and uses environmentally friendly manufacturing technology (a plant protein resin system is used to bond the materials).

Paint—We chose Sherwin William’s paint systems because they offer a complete line of low-VOC, water-based latex paints and a semigloss “Zero” VOC paint in eggshell.

Linoleum—Linoleum flooring was specified instead of vinyl because it is a 100 percent natural product made from cork, linseed oil, wood flour, and pine resin. Ground stone and wood are added for color. Linoleum is a durable material that requires far less maintenance than vinyl. Additionally, vinyl flooring is made from polyvinyl chloride, a known carcinogen and one of the most hazardous materials to manufacture.

Carpeting—Collins & Aikmen carpeting was selected because of that firm’s strong environmental policies and programs. Collins & Aikmen’s recycling program will take back and recycle 100% of our carpet when it needs replacing.

Ceiling Tiles—The ceiling tiles used in the building are made from volcanic perlite. They contain no hazardous or toxic chemicals, do not support bacterial or fungus growth, and unlike mineral fiber panels, do not require a warning label. The tiles are 100% recyclable.

Panels - Workstation panels are used to divide large workstation spaces into cubicles.  The absence of walls allows for flexible utilization of the space available.  The panel fabric is spun from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles (EcoSpun fabric).

Fencing - PrairePicket fencing was used outside and is made from 50% post-consumer recycled material.

CVSan found alternative sources for furniture and discovered that it didn’t have to cost more to be “green”—it just took a little creativity. Finding new and creative uses for materials is a fun and interesting way to reduce the amount of waste we throw out.

Piano Bookcase—One office contained a bookcase made by Community Environmental Institute from a discarded piano. The top shelf was part of the soundboard assembly and the other shelves were made from shop scraps. Identifying marks were left as part of the design.

“Green” Desk, Table and Chairs—One office contained what some people would call alternative furniture. The tabletops are made from silk oak harvested from urban trees. The legs are made from plywood which came from cabinet shop scrap and Resets, a company that recycles Hollywood movie sets. The desk drawers and slides came from salvaged desks. The steel is also recycled. And in an effort to reduce indoor air emissions, only water-based lacquers were used. These pieces were designed and produced by Community Environmental Institute.

Vintage Office Furniture—Instead of buying new office furniture, “vintage” furniture was purchased. It’s similar in price—but higher in quality.

Board Table From Sustainably Harvested Lumber—Ensuring that the lumber used in products is sustainably harvested is another way that we can “live highly” on this earth. The lumber used to build the Board table was purchased at Eco Timber in Berkeley and is sustainably harvested. Sustainable forestry practices include the following commitments:

  • to protect, maintain and/or restore the forest ecosystem (ground-water, aquatic habitat, flora, fauna, fungi and microbes, and native species);
  • to not use chemical fertilizers or synthetic chemical pesticides;
  • to promote worker-owned and operated organizations; and
  • to protect archaeological, cultural and historically significant sites as well as ancient forests.

Bookcases from Urban Lumber—The bookcases in the General Manager’s office and Conference Room are made from deodar cedar harvested from urban trees. Cutting urban trees has little effect on wildlife and using the material to create products is an efficient use of our natural resources, since these trees would otherwise be landfilled or chipped and composted. The manufacturer, Community Environmental Institute, compost all sawdust and wood scraps, which is one of the benefits of using urban lumber over plywood or particleboard.

Tables - Activewerks Companion Tables are used in the Board Room and other workspaces.  These tables are made from 60-90% post-consumer material and 95% post-industrial material and are recyclable.

Appliances - 
The kitchen has Energy Star appliances that conserve energy.  If just 10 homes used Energy Star appliances, the change would be like planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.

EPEAT Computers - Computer monitors are EPEAT Silver, and computer workstations are EPEAT Gold.

Fluorescent Lighting - Only fluorescent light bulbs are used and they are properly recycled by the District.

Rechargeable Batteries - Rechargeable dry cell batteries are available for use, and non-rechargeable dry cell batteries are properly recycled by the District.

Dishwashing Liquid Soap
 – We use this specifically for handwashing our dishes. This product is 100% biodegradable and ozone-safe. It doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that negatively affect our environment. The container and all packaging are recyclable.

Automatic Dishwashing Powder – We use this in our dishwasher on a daily basis. It is phosphate and chlorine-free. It is super concentrated with no fillers and is biodegradable.

Ecological Liquid Laundry Detergent – This environmentally friendly product is used to clean cloth napkins, kitchen towels, and uniforms at CVSan. It contains no phosphates and is made from plant-based ingredients. This helps make it biodegradable.

Liquid Hand Soap – We keep this product in our bathrooms and kitchens. We also buy the refills for our soap that come in a pouch. The pouch for this product is said to leave behind an environmental footprint that is 83% less than a rigid plastic bottle. The soap is 100% biodegradable and contains Vitamin E and Aloe.

Paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissue
– These products are all made from 60% post-consumer material.

Legal pads, sticky notes, binders, CD covers, file folders, envelopes – All products are from recycled material that is from 30% - 100% post-consumer material.

Recycled paper clips – 100% recyclable and made from 50% post-consumer recycled product.

Pens – We offer options to insert a refill for ink. Made from 75% post-consumer recycled product.

Reusable Crates - Crates and dollies made from post-consumer recycled material are used by our primary office supplier instead of having single-use cardboard boxes.

Promotional Items - We aim to purchase promotional items that are environmentally friendly (reusable, recyclable, and/or compostable), made with the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled material.  We aim to purchase items made/distributed as close as possible to the District, and preferably made in the USA.

Antifreeze - CVSan vehicles are serviced where Recycled Antifreeze is available.

Barricades - 95% post-consumer recycled plastic barricades are used in the Field and for public events.

CVSan thanks the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Recycling Board for grant funds which covered the additional costs associated with recycling during construction and demolition and the purchase of environment-friendly building materials and furniture.

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CVSan Environmentally Preferable Purchase Policy1 document

  • 2017 EPPP
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