Dave Machado, manager of Brookside Collision on Sunrise Highway, says that Brookside is making a strong effort to be a part of the country's going green movement. Last year Brookside became the first body shop on the East Coast to use a new paint system called Envirobase, he said.
Machado and James Mangels, son of store president Richard Mangels and technician at Brookside, said that not only is Envirobase a green product, but that it is also a better way to paint cars.
"The color matching is phenomenal," said Machado, and Mangels added that Envirobase was an overall "superior product."
Traditional solvent-based systems let off a high number of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are harmful to both the environment and people who breathe it. According to its Web site, Brookside lets off 80 percent less VOC than it did under the old system.
"Normally [technicians] are suited up head to toe," Mangels said. "Now we're not dealing with the cancer causing chemicals of old reducers."
Machado took his first class on how to transition to this new system in June 2008, and Brookside fully switched over to the waterborne system in January 2009. Machado said that his best example was the amount that Brookside had cut down on its overall waste in the past year.
Envirobase cuts down on waste through the way technicians clean the paint gun itself. In the past, the process created solid waste that was completely unusable and had to be specially disposed of through another company at the cost of Brookside.
Now, by adding a powder to the waste, the waste separates into reusable water at the bottom of the container and a lesser amount of more highly concentrated waste at the top. Machado said that technicians can safely repeat the process up to 10 times. Machado said that this has resulted in roughly three quarts of waste, compared to 55 gallons under the solvent-based system over the same period of time.
Finally, the system uses computers to figure out exactly how much paint will be necessary in order to cover a certain part of the car. These combined factors have allowed Brookside to save money using Envirobase, Machado said.
"I've got a lot of good feedback on it… It's a drastic change," Macado said.
Others have taken notice of Brookside's efforts as well. State Assemblyman Joseph Saladino awarded Brookside a certificate of merit in September, and fellow Assemblyman David McDonough awarded Machado a citation in August to recognize the impact of using Envirobase.
Despite the positive recognition, Mangels said that the introduction of Envirobase has not resulted in an increase in sales.
Mangels blamed this partially on insurance companies, who he says act illegally by showing certain repair shops in a favorable light. Mangels said that independent shops like Brookside will have an especially hard time if insurance companies favor the bigger repair shops. Mangels said he hopes that legislators will pass laws that keep insurance companies out of the business of independent shops, an issue that lawmakers throughout the country have considered.
As for the green future of Brookside, Machado and Mangels said that in the future they hope to have solar panels provide some power for the shop.
"It's going to take quite a lot of money on our part in investment," Mangels said. "[But] it's not just a marketing tool. It's something I really believe in."