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Growing A Sustainable Business SGIA April11 .pdf


Original filename: Growing_A_Sustainable_Business-SGIA-April11.pdf
Title: SGIA News April 2010 — Growing a Sustainable Business

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Growing a Sustainable Business
The urgency to become more sustainable continues to
spread within the specialty imaging industry. Not only does
it recognize your concern for the environment, but it helps
your company save money and gives you an edge in this
competitive market. According to the US Green Building
Council (USGBC), green buildings use less energy, water
and natural resources, create less waste, and are healthier
and more comfortable for occupants.

TRENDS

transformed its operations into a 22,000 square foot ecofriendly facility. During the process of becoming LEED certified, the company focused on reclaiming and refurbishing
the old navy store. The LEED program is a point-based
system where building projects earn points for satisfying
specific green building criteria. Getting rid of the lead paint,
for example, scored Vapor Apparel big points.
According to Chris Bernat, Co-Founder of Vapor Apparel,
the renovated facility now maximizes natural light, uses
green building materials, and reduces water usage and
urban run-off by relying on intelligent design and forward
thinking systems. It utilizes huge fans, waterless bathroom
facilities and a water-based air conditioning system.
“We save 67,000 gallons of water a year in the washrooms alone,” says Bernat. “We also thought about our
team’s commutes, access to commercial recycling, proximity to interstates and the airport; all of which are within five
minutes of the office. We have eliminated about 400 hours a
year in interoffice driving.”

Making the Commitment

“ On top of being a major benefit in the

marketplace, LEED certification is a unique
opportunity to really differentiate ourselves
as a brand. ” — Chris Bernat, Vapor Apparel

“The SGIA community is increasingly being pressured
by customers to become more sustainable,” said Marci
Kinter, SGIA’s Vice President of Government and Business
Information. “Focusing your agenda on sustainable practices in your business will give you an upper hand during
these competitive times.”

Going Sustainable
SGIA member company Vapor Apparel has taken the
“green” initiative to the next level by becoming a LEED
certified business. LEED, which stands for the USGBC’s
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program,
sets the framework for designing and constructing energyefficient buildings. The certification program provides independent, third-party verification that a building is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to work.
Last year, the performance apparel distributor located in
the historic Navy Yard in North Charleston, South Carolina,

Vapor Apparel has always been concerned with eco-friendly
printing, and instills that commitment not only in their facility, but also in their product. The company’s clothing is made
in Colombia where more than 68 percent of the national
power grid is driven by renewable energy. The company
also is developing products from eco-friendly yarns. The
yarn, named Repreve, is made from 100 percent recycled
materials, including post-consumer and post-industrial polyester fibers.
“This is a game changer, Bernat adds. “On top of being
a major benefit in the marketplace, LEED certification is a
unique opportunity to really differentiate ourselves as a
blanks brand. A lot of companies talk about sustainability,
but very few act on it. It’s one thing to talk about being
green in your catalog, but having a world headquarters that
is LEED certified actually demonstrates it.”
The trend to become more sustainable isn’t going away
anytime soon. Making the commitment to using green
building materials, eco-friendly technologies and sustainable products, will certainly strengthen your position in the
specialty imaging marketplace. To learn more about how
to start your business on the sustainability pathway, check
out SGIA’s 4-Step Sustainability Action Plan by going to
SGIA.org, Keyword: 4Steps. For more details about USGBC’s
LEED certification program, visit www.usgbc.org.



32.04. SGIA News |

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