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As a relatively inexpensive way to meet storage needs, self-storage is becoming a very popular and attractive option for individuals and businesses alike. There are now over 50,000 self storage facilities in the U.S. and they encompass more than two billion square feet of total real estate. With a footprint this large, it is no surprise that the industry is heavily trending towards “going green”. Respect for the environment is one of the industry’s hottest passions and a growing number of operators are taking active measures to make their facilities more eco-friendly. Here are seven companies that have been especially pro-active in the area of environmental awareness:
- Bellam Self-storage & Boxes (San Rafael, CA). Serving the Marin County area, Bellam Self-storage & Boxes prides itself on having adopted numerous green practices. Bellam has instituted a policy whereby no hazardous materials of any kind may be stored on its premises. Only environmentally friendly paint is used and only a non-chemical cedar spray is used for repelling pests. To conserve energy, all of the facility’s lighting, both interior and exterior, is on timers. Bellam also uses energy-efficient equipment and supplies. None of its printers or copiers use toner and all of its printing is done on recycled paper. They even use recycled paper products to make up most of the material in the boxes used for shipping. The building is naturally climate-controlled due largely to its cement exterior, fiberglass insulation, and foam-sprayed roof. Bellam’s landscaping is on the drip irrigation system and its plants are drought resistant; hence they require minimal watering. The company’s most recent initiative was to install solar paneling, thereby drastically reducing its total power consumption.
- ezStorage (Columbia, MD). With thousands of units in the DC Metro and surrounding areas, ezStorage recently made a commitment to adopt LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification , a U.S. Green Building Council standard, at all its future locations. Its two newest facilities are LEED-certified and the most recently constructed facility is fully climate-controlled and uses high-efficiency lighting and HVAC systems.
- Castle & Cooke Self-storage (Mililani, HI). This Hawaiian facility lists environmental friendliness as one of its prime features. The modern structure in Mililani is notable for its eco-friendly architectural design. Castle & Cooke, which also develops residential communities, is presently working to have all of its facilities LEED certified.
- iStoreGreen (Brooklyn, NY). This Brooklyn facility is located in a refurbished warehouse which uses recylced wood for its furniture and shelves. It is the first storage facility to use solar water heating and relies exclusively on renewable energy for its electricity. iStoreGreen uses nothing but recycled materials for its marketing brochures and distributes booklets with tips for green living to its customers. All these materials are printed on recycled paper with soy ink. The company also offers its customers eco-friendly packaging materials made from recycled and/or biodegradable sources.
- Security Self Storage (Raleigh, NC). As the first green self-storage facility in North Carolina, Security boasts several eco-friendly features. They generate their electricity from pole-mounted solar panels and are conservation-minded in other areas as well. The company’s seven Raleigh-area buildings use low-wattage light bulbs and insulate their garage doors. The landscaping system is set up to conserve rainwater by retaining it in rain gardens instead of letting it drain away. Security also donates a percentage of its earnings to local land conservation programs.
- Guardian Storage Solutions (Pittsburgh, PA). Although headquartered in Pittsburgh, Guardian has several facilities in both Pennsylvania and Colorado. In planning these facilities, Guardian chose to convert from existing buildings, as opposed to building from scratch. Each conversion has been overseen by a LEED accredited architect who is well versed in green construction principles. The company offers two types of storage units: climate-controlled and non climate-controlled. The units are laid out in an optimal way for the environmentally conscience. The climate-controlled units are located in the interior of the building, whereas the non climate-controlled units form an outer barrier which serves as an additional buffer of insulation for the climate-controlled areas. By using this kind of a layout scheme, Guardian is able to maintain the interior units at their desired temperatures without needing to use nearly as much energy as would otherwise be required.
- Safe and Secure Automated Self Storage (Coconut Creek, FL). This LEED-compliant facility was the winner of the 2010 Outstanding Green Facility of the Year Award presented by Mini-Storage Messenger, a monthly industry periodical. The facility boasts a unique automated storage and retrieval system which yields measurable efficiencies. The building has been shown to use as little as one-half the power typically needed by a facility of its size.
Art Decker is a division manager with Self Storage Company, which operates a group of websites, including a Tennessee self-storage locator. Art is currently leading a green initiative within his company, called “Make Yourself Green,” which is focused on promoting green practices within the self storage industry.