• Cultivating • Connecting • Creating • Community

  • Carpinteria is Building a Sustainable Future

  • “When it comes to operating at an environmentally friendly level, there’s a sense of urgency now, and we have the responsibility and the power to do something about it.” 
    –Rachel Wylie
     
    Ask anyone in Carpinteria and they’ll tell you, sustainability is a big deal here. The city has undertaken a number of projects to increase energy efficiency, including new pool furnaces, LED lighting upgrades at multiple facilities, and LED outdoor lighting upgrades. According to Erin Maker, City of Carpinteria Environmental Coordinator, the City is on board to create a sustainable community, and these are just the first steps.
     
    “We are looking at a possible solar project at the pool, and we’ve talked about a retrofit of City Hall, and many different energy efficiency projects,” Maker said. “We are working to improve our energy infrastructure, and the resilience of our grid by using more environmentally friendly options.”
     
    The City also has a number of legislative initiatives in place to further their sustainability efforts including a ban on plastic bags in retail settings, a single use bag regulation, regulations on polystyrene use with a ban on restaurant packaging and single use items, as well as a ban on smoking in public places.
    “The community is really on board with our efforts,” Maker added. “Residents are very involved and really want what’s best for Carpinteria.”
     
     The benefits of living in a community with such a focus on sustainability is perfect for Kristin Fraser. Since 2004, she has built The Grapeseed Company into a thriving business by upcycling the byproduct of the California wine industry. The spark behind The Grapeseed Company began when Kristin moved to Santa Barbara after a two-year adventure sailing from Boston to the Caribbean. During her travels, she discovered the benefits of natural oils and plants being used by local islanders and studied herbs, essential oils and the craft of making natural skin care products. Since it wasn’t always easy to get to stores, she began making products for personal use on the boat. 
     
    “When we moved to Santa Barbara, I started researching red wine grape seeds and learned that they’re super good for your skin,” Fraser said. “I started selling scrubs, oils, and lip balms and within six months had my first wholesale account. That’s when I thought, oh my gosh, this could be a real business!”
     
    And what a business it has become. Today, The Grapeseed Company creates more than 100 vinotherapy skin, hair, bath & body products utilizing fresh, local ingredients. Fraser recently opened her second location in Carpinteria, and several months ago, opened a third location in the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara. Fraser is loyal to the community, and works hard to keep everything about The Grapeseed Company local. “This is such a local product and based on local ingredients. I want to employ Santa Barbara County residents, and from the location to the staff – keep it local and handmade.”
     
    “Residents are really loyal to local businesses, and if they love what you’re doing, they are the best advertisers out there.” Fraser said. “That’s how we’ve grown. We’ve put very little into advertising because here, people tell your story for you.”
     
    Enhancing the local environment is a number of local businesses developing Green Business of Santa Barbara County Certified (GBPSBC). The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce was one of the first businesses in Carpinteria to seek the certification, and according to Rachel Wylie, Chamber Virtual Web & Design Master, the program was not only informative, but also a great community builder.
     
    “There’s this wonderful network that you can tap into, a really cool community of people who want their businesses to be mindful of the environment,” Wylie said. “It was a comprehensive, straightforward process, and it’s amazing how really small changes can have a huge impact.”
     
    By setting the example at the Chamber of Commerce, Wylie hopes to help other business owners pursue the certification.
     
    “We did it, and we can help you. Because when it comes to operating at an environmentally friendly level, there’s a sense of urgency now, and we have the responsibility and the power to do something about it. That’s where it starts, on the individual and community level.”  In addition to the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, City of Carpinteria Pool, Shepards Place Apartments, & Whimsey Antiques (Linden) have all become Green Businesses of Santa Barbara County Certified. The GBPSBC provides resources and assistance to businesses and certifies businesses through workshops and trainings, on-site visits and evaluation, and highlights Certified Businesses so that local consumers can shop green. A certificate from the GBPSBC means that business owners have made a commitment to their community to go above and beyond basic environmental requirements.
     
    Harrison Industries, which provides trash collection, recycling and yard waste services for residential and commercial customers throughout Carpinteria, is feeling that urgency and doing their part to clean up the environment. Recognizing that approximately 50 percent of smog is produced by heavy vehicles, last year the company unveiled a state-of-the-art compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. 
     
    “This new station will allow us to continue to convert a higher number of our diesel vehicles to clean CNG, reducing our impacts and enhancing our communities air quality,” Mike Harrison, Engineering Manager for Harrison Industries said. “As a step further, we will be using CNG sourced from low-carbon programs.”
     
    From the foothills, boasting some of the best crops in the world, to the small businesses on Linden Avenue, to the offices on the bluffs developing technology to help keep the world moving forward, Carpinteria’s vibrant, growing economy and focus on sustainability makes the community one of the best places in California to do business.
     
     
     
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