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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Friday, Nov. 13, 2009

How Green in the Valley

By Sherri Collins

Editor, Pet Product News International

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Cardinal Labs Goes Green
Tony de Vos (2nd from the right) cuts the ribbon before “pulling the switch” to go completely solar. His wife and business partner Linda (2nd from the left) holds the ribbon with help from Azusa Mayor Joseph R. Rocha (far right) and Irene Villapania, director of the Azusa Chamber of Commerce (far left).
It all started with a light bulb. Cardinal Laboratories Inc.’s president Tony de Vos needed to replace a burnt-out standard light bulb in his office and the next thing he knew, the entire manufacturing and company headquarters facility in Azusa, Calif., was undergoing a complete energy overhaul. After an estimated $1 million in expenditures (the conversion is already starting to pay for itself in the form of a rebate from the city of Azusa and Azusa Light & Water as part of the Solar Partnership Program), Cardinal Lab’s is off the grid with a 100-percent solar-powered building--and that’s just the start.

During the last week of October, I attended Cardinal’s open-house celebration of Going Green, Phase 1. What I saw and heard during the three-hour event warmed the eco-conscious cockles of my heart and inspired me to find additional ways to conserve energy at home--I only use compact fluorescents in my apartment and every always-on energy-consuming item plugs into a “keep-it-off” powerstrip, but I know I can do more.

The building in Azusa is the first completely solar-powered commercial facility in the city—and its officials were there en masse to celebrate and honor Tony, his dedicated team and business partners for their accomplishments. At rough guess, several dozen guests took part in the festivities, which included tours of the facility, numerous presentations from city officials, scissor-lift rides up to the roof to view the 367 solar panels, the state-of-the-art cool roof and light-harvesting prismatic skylights, a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the power/circuit breaker unit and an impressive buffet spread. During all of this activity, the first products (dog shampoo) produced solely with solar power rolled of the line and were offered to everyone there. Cardinal’s contractors were also on-hand with information on how to go completely green.

Next up is the conversion of the Baldwin Park distribution center to solar energy--Phase 2, which began this past September. Phase 3 starts this month and involves the construction of a new 70,000 sq-ft building located next door to HQ that will run completely on solar and geo-thermal power. And did I mention Cardinal’s website host is also a solar-powered entity? Cardinal is really going green from top to bottom, inside and out. The conversion and energy update was so thorough; Cardinal will be able to return excess power to Azusa’s grid and thanks to a recently signed bill by the Governator, will receive financial remuneration for doing so.

Why did Cardinal go green in such a big way? Short answer: It was the right thing to do. From a business standpoint, it lowers energy costs for less overhead and the initial investments have relatively rapid returns. Socially and environmentally, it takes stress off our non-renewable energy supply and reduces off-site air pollution, making the world a potentially better place.

Thank you Cardinal for leading the way; your example is an inspiration to businesses and individuals everywhere. Bravo!

Click here for details on everything Cardinal did to go green.

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