The Benefits of Going Green

An Illinois CITGO fuel marketer became the first gas station owner in the nation to receive the Green Business League award for its efforts to reduce energy and minimize its environmental footprint.

Dave Welch, president of Deerfield CITGO, began his journey toward achieving a green business in June 2009, when he and a consultant started working through a checklist of requirements his store would need to meet for certification by the Green Business League. By early fall, Welch had the changes implemented and approved.

Rain barrels collect water to be used on plants and for driveway c

leaning.

Becoming a green business “was a way of doing better for ourselves and the community,” Welch told CSD. “We’re now the first green gas station in the U.S. It feels pretty nice.”

The changes he implemented last summer included switching to a digital thermostat that automatically turns off at night when the store is closed. “There are enough small machines inside the store, like some pop machines and refrigerators that run all night and generate plenty of heat,” Welch noted.

Welch also had timers installed on some frozen soda machines and the hot water heater, so they turn off when the store is closed, and timers installed on the lights outside the building, so they shut off automatically in the morning. Using large 52-gallon rain barrels, the store now collects rainwater and uses it to water the foliage outside the store and to wash down the parking lot. The plants are made for desert conditions and require minimal water. Welch also added hand sanitizer for customers at the gas pumps, recycling bins outside the store for bottles and cans, and upgraded to LED lighting.

Green Clean
Inside the store, Welch used low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, which is less harmful to the environment and humans. In the bathroom, where he used to find faucets left running, he installed motion-detector faucets that shut off after use, and also added a bladder in the toilet that keeps water levels to a minimum. In addition, the store upgraded its paper products to a biodegradable variety and now uses only green products for cleaning.

Thanks to all the new changes, Welch’s station expects to see energy savings of about 20% annually.

Inspired by Welch’s lead, CITGO has developed a list of changes that its nearly 7,000 locally-owned stations can make to help their own operations be more energy efficient and environmentally-friendly. For example, the oil company is recommending that all dealers install timers for heating, air-conditioning and refrigerator systems to limit unnecessary electricity use. Updating lighting to energy-efficient bulbs and introducing motion sensors on soap and towel dispensers can also reduce waste.

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