Toole’s Garage is a family owned and operated automotive repair facility that specializes in hybrid battery maintenance. Toole’s is a certified California green business and, as a hybrid shop franchise, the shop has access to technologies capable of bringing old unusable batteries back to life. Toole’s is one of the only shops in the Bay Area that conditions batteries to prevent nickel metal halide (NiMH) waste from entering landfills. This service keeps older hybrid vehicles on the road longer and prevents expensive battery replacement costs for customers.While Toole’s already is committed to making a positive impact on the environment by way of supporting electric vehicle usage, the shop also has taken a bold step forward to minimize the impact of its daily business operations. Auto maintenance businesses deal with a lot of paperwork but Toole’s makes a significant effort to reduce internal paper consumption. Customer paperwork can now be completed through electronic forms and email. Following a car check-up, customers are given a detailed report online that outlines all suggested maintenance for their car. This system is not only handy but prevents unnecessary paperwork. Employees have been given tablets for inputting customer information and have a system for holding virtual meeting with their clients. The garage provides a shuttle service for customers using their own Prius fleet. The shop’s scrap metal is regularly picked up for recycling. Staff also implements energy conservation practices such as turning off the air compressor every night, using the blinds to reduce cooling needs, increasing the air conditioning set point from 70 ˚F to 74 ˚F, and reducing the lighting hours. These energy conservation practices alone save Toole’s $100 on monthly electricity costs.The shop also has prioritized facility upgrades that reduce waste and boost energy efficiency. Recent updates include the installation of drought tolerant landscaping and an electric hand-dryer in the restroom. A new reusable water bottle refill station is estimated to save $60 per month in plastic water bottle costs. This year the garage will be making more improvements including replacing all lighting with LEDs and installing a rooftop solar system. It is estimated that these future upgrades will reduce monthly electricity bills by $500. Toole’s is also actively engaged in community outreach. The business held a women’s car care clinic and a Boy Scouts of America certification class, highlighting how smart car choices can reduce GHG emissions. Staff also attended a sustainability event held by San Mateo County to learn how they can engage with the community to promote climate action. The shop also offers its proprietary battery conditioning equipment to other local auto shops to further reduce battery waste being sent to landfills.
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