Individually, we’ve always been committed to ensuring the health of the environment. It’s probably no coincidence that Mark and Virginia met while working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As a family owned and operated business, we wanted Pet Camp to be both an environmentally and socially responsible citizen.
Today, Pet Camp is proud to be a certified Green Business by the City and County of San Francisco. We are the first pet lodging facility in the country to hold that honor.
This certification is a reflection of our business philosophy and the work we’ve done over the years on a range of environmental issues.
Our Green Initiatives
If you’d like to learn more about the steps we’ve taken to green Pet Camp, we invite you to explore these topics:
- Solar Energy
During the summer of California's rolling blackouts, we thought seriously about how to reduce our power use. We doubled our resolve when we heard certain politicians advocating drilling for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge.
With the help and expertise of Steve Moss from the San Francisco Community Power Cooperative, we were able to install a massive 33 kilowatt solar system that generates more than half of the electricity we use. That’s enough to power over a dozen homes in San Francisco.
At the time it went live, it was San Francisco’s largest solar system and third largest power producer. Today, Pet Camp is one of the largest privately financed solar power systems in the City.
At Cat Safari, we have installed a photovoltaic system on the roof to provide us with the electricity. For our hot water, we use solar thermal and tankless hot water systems. On most days, the solar thermal system provides all the hot water we need. On those days that the solar thermal can’t meet our needs on its own, it will pre-heat water before the water circulates through a tankless water heater.
- Energy Conservation
To trim our energy consumption, we converted all light fixtures to fluorescents, with bulbs that are a scant 8 mm thick. We also converted our pressure washers, pool heater and filter from 120 volts to 220 volts, which uses much less electricity to run.
- Breath of Fresh Air
Pet Camp’s ventilation system changes the air in the dog campsite 15 times an hour.
After a year of research seeking the best, most energy efficient way to keep Pet Camp's indoor air quality continuously fresh, we settled on Big Ass Fans (http://www.bigassfans.com/). Using only 58 watts, these slow-spinning giants move 68,000 cubic feet of air per minute, continually blending the air in the dog area and using less power than a 60 watt light bulb to do it!
These High Volume Low Speed or HVLS fans (as they're officially known) were originally designed for use in the dairy industry. We use them to circulate air to help prevent the spread of airborne germs. Today, Pet Camp is the only boarding facility that uses this technology.
We sincerely thank the San Francisco Community Power Cooperative for its assistance in funding the HVLS fans and for all of its support in energy conservation. We hope our successful use of these fans encourages other businesses to implement this energy saving technology.
- The Poop
Pet Camp is part of an experimental pilot program on composting dog poop. In conjunction with Recology and the City of San Francisco, we are now composting the dog waste generated at Pet Camp — Don't try this at home, kids! Dog waste is not traditionally accepted in compost bins!
In this program, Pet Camp's dog waste is blended with other "green" waste at the East Bay Municipal Water District to generate methane gas. The gas is then turned into electricity to run the water treatment facility. Adding composting to our recycling efforts has allowed us to divert more than 80% of our waste stream away from landfill.
- Tankless Water Heater
One of the big issues and costs with tankless hot water heaters in the City (where most flues have to go up to the roof) is the cost of the required stainless steel flues. To avoid this issue, with the help of Mason Heating & Air Conditioning, we were able to come up with a system that placed the tankless system on the roof. It was easier and less expensive to run insulated copper pipe from the roof down than it was to run a stainless steel flue from the bottom to the roof. We also used formaldehyde-free products in our construction.
At Cat Safari, we have a greenhouse to give our urban-indoor cats a chance to play in the great outdoors. They love exploring the great “outdoors” in a safe environment. What the cats don’t know is that on the cooler days, when the greenhouse air gets warm, we use the warmth generated in the greenhouse to heat the building.