With air quality in the Sacramento, California, area among the nation’s worst, it is the one environmental issue affecting every single resident in the region. That also means the solution depends on everyone doing his or her part to reduce air pollution.

Gary Federico, owner of the third-generation cosmetology school Federico Beauty Institute, took the clean air initiative to heart and has worked continuously to maximize energy efficiency at the school. Federico partnered with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to install a photovoltaic carport system, a solar panel system that shades cars while collecting solar power. Lighting at the school has been changed to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and occupancy sensors have been installed to eliminate energy waste.  The heating and air conditioning system is also managed by a control system to ensure optimum efficiency.

Federico Beauty Institute’s use of solar power will reduce CO2 emissions by 165,643 pounds, or remove the equivalent of about 14 passenger cars from the roadways every year.

“The Sacramento community benefits when a business such as the Federico Beauty Institute sets an example by buying and promoting technology that produces clean energy and reduces energy usage,” said Michelle Seeberger of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

In 2008, Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails named the cosmetology school as one of six Business Clean Air Champions and honored it at the Clean Air Awards Luncheon. “Federico’s winning the award proves that the size of a business has nothing to do with its ability to take effective action toward cleaning our air,” said Kori Titus, spokeswoman for Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails. “Gary Federico proves that small businesses can make a huge difference if enough owners act in unison to save our environment and spare our air.”

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