When asked if he was in compliance with Environment Canada’s VOC regulations (in effect since 2010) Bernhard Rubbert, owner of False Creek Collision answered:
“We have been far ahead of any regulation by Environment Canada when we introduced water-based coats (the colour layer) in 2006. The actual regulation came into effect in 2010. And now with our introduction of a complete water-based paint we are far ahead of any further regulation (which, I assume, could be launched in 5-10 years). Compliance is really not an issue for us.”
I had the opportunity to ask Bernhard a few questions regarding his commitment to sustainable business practices:
Q. What made you switch to this kind of paint before regulatory measures were put in place?
A. My background is Chemical Engineering and most of my career I spent in the Coatings industry in Europe (Germany) developing and marketing paint systems for the global automotive industry. Sustainability has been always my focus and when I became aware of the newest technology, I convinced our current paint manufacturer to work with me towards a switch as the first auto body shop in North America.
Q. Can you tell us where you were in 2006 with water-based paints and where you are now?
A. We were the first shop in Western Canada to introduce water-based base coats (the colour layer of an automotive paint with the highest amount of solvents) in 2006. In March 2013 we introduced a complete water-based paint technology (sealer, primer, base coat and clear coat).
Q. Does it differ in quality to other paints?
A. No. We provide life time guarantee on all of our jobs.
Q. What are the advantages to using this?
A. Overall, we substantially reduce our carbon footprint because we are not emitting those so-called VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) anymore. VOC is producing SMOG which we definitely don’t want to have in our air to breathe. Furthermore, our workers are not exposed to those products anymore which improves the health situation for all of us working at False Creek Collision.
Q. Are there cost savings?
A. I don’t think so. But, I am willing to invest in a healthier future for all of us. The products are a bit slower in curing which might affect the overall productivity of a shop. But, the paint manufacturer is working on a new generation of clear coats that will speed up the process.
Q. Are you one of the only car repair shop using it?
A. According to PPG, the paint manufacturer, we are the first auto body shop in North America to have switched to a complete water-based paint technology.
Q. Are you measuring your carbon footprint in other ways?
A. Yes, for example, we want to reduce our paper consumption, recycle card board, and we are using as much as possible used/recycled auto parts and avoid any waste as much as possible.
Having relocated from Vancouver to Burnaby in 2010, False Creek Collision has embraced innovation, change and community. It was one of the first Burnaby businesses to Take the Pledge for a Sustainable Community (bbotpledge.ca) and continues to seek ways to do business that is both good for customers and good for the environment.
False Creek Collisions conversion to all water based paint technology (sealer, primer, base coat and clear coat) was officially launched in March 2013 at a community event attended by Mayor Derek Corrigan, MLA Kathy Corrigan and friends in the community. False Creek Collision has also been featured in the Quarterly Repair Magazine.