What Makes Us Green
When we started the design of our new dental office in La Habra,
CA in 2009, we decided that we wanted an facility that will promote exceptional dentistry in a
stress-less environment for both our patients and staff. We carefully chose the colors, materials and
layout design to promote a very relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. But we did not stop there; we also wanted an
office that would be very energy efficient and very kind to the
environment. So we decided to build our office according to the principles and guidelines set by the US Green Building Council. As a result, we are proud to be one of the very few eco-friendly dental offices in California, built to the highest L.E.E.D. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification level (Platinum)!
So what makes us GREEN? Being eco-friendly is a commitment, a lifestyle, an ongoing effort to adhere to certain guiding principles both during the construction phase and everyday business activities. It is much more than turning off that faucet or switching off that light when not in use (though that is a great start), or solar energy (though a great way to reduce your carbon footprint). Here are some of the things that we have incorporated into our practice, to help preserve Mother Earth for us and the future generations:
- Use of a L.E.E.D. certified builder, utilizing green building principles such as proper disposal and recycling of demolished and excess building materials.
- Utilization of an existing building structure as basis for construction, vs. complete demolition and ground up construction, to save on materials, cost and resources.
- Selection of a location that is accessible to public transportation, to help promote its use by both patients and staff instead of personal vehicles.
- Provision of special parking spaces for carpools.
- Use of cabinetry and furniture made from recycled materials and eco-friendly techniques and resources. We use a dental cabinet manufacturer that has a special line of dental furniture made from recycled products and low-VOC adhesives.
- Use of building materials with high recycled content, such as countertops, ceiling tiles, cabinets, etc.
- Use of office furniture that is either recycled, reused, and/or refurbished. Save the trees (and save some green at the same time!)
- Office furniture purchased new are mostly made from rubberwood, which comes from the rubber tree, the source of latex rubber. The rubber tree produces latex for 25-30 years, after which its production decreases and the tree is felled and replaced. It is considered an eco-friendly material because making it into furniture after its productive years have past is good use of something that would normally be thrown away.
- Flooring material used are made from bamboo, a tree (well, it is a form of grass, technically) that is considered eco-friendly because it is highly renewable, fast growing, and produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees, among other things. It is a very eco-friendly alternative to hardwood.
- Use of low-VOC paint thoughout, eliminating fumes that can do harm to us and the ozone layer.
- Use of very efficient LED and CFL lighting throughout, with light sensors that keep the lights off when ambient light is adequate.
- And ambient light is usually adequate with expansive windows all throughout the office, from the operatories to the business offices. This usually keeps our lights off!
- Use of a power timer swtich that turns off all the lights at a predetermined time. No more lights left on all night!
- Use of Low-E, dual pane glass on all windows. This thermally efficient glass window material helps keep temperature extremes outdoors from affecting the indoors, cutting down on heating and cooling costs.
- Installation of highly efficient Heating and Air Conditioning units, using R-410A refrigerant, the eco-friendly alternative to the obsolete, ozone depleting R-22 (Freon).
- Use of water saving faucet aerators throughout, and hands free faucet activation.
- An automatic water shut off valve that turns off the water supply at the end of the business day. This saves water from those leaky faucets and prevents flooding from a damaged water line.
- Comprehensive digital technology enables us to be completely chartless, and be much less dependent on paper products. We try not to print on paper, only when absolutely necessary.
- Whenever we do need to print, we reuse the print paper, then shred and recycle after.
- Digital X-rays frees us from the toxic chemicals that are required for the processing of traditional film.
- Use of a sophisticated dry suction system that does not require water for its proper use.
- Appliances are chosen for their efficient performance and energy star ratings.
This is by no means a complete list of things we do in our efforts to "do our part" in saving the environment, and we will continue to strive to incorporate new green techniques and energy saving technologies as they become available. The bottom line is, we are always finding ways to serve you in the most efficient manner, and provide you with the best dental care possible with the least impact on the environment.
We mean it when we say "We put a smile on You and the Environment!"