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USGNN Original StoryGiroux Glass Goes Green with New Facility
May 11, 2009

Los Angeles-based Giroux Glass is hosting a grand opening celebration on Saturday, May 16, for the opening of its new fabrication facility in San Bernardino, Calif.

With the current growth of the company it had become apparent that the current Los Angeles fabrication facility was limited both in size and equipment. As a result, about six months ago the company located a 40,000-square-foot warehouse in San Bernardino to use as the new fabrication center for the company's custom and unitized curtainwall and storefront projects coming out of the Los Angeles headquarters, approximately 60 miles away, as well as assisting in fabrication for some projects based out of the Las Vegas office.

In addition to a great deal of new fabrication equipment, the company is sporting some additional new technology in the way of solar power. The building has been retrofitted to allow the fabrication equipment to run off of solar energy.

"I was signing some checks here for our utilities here at our facility in Los Angeles and was surprised at how high those bills have been," recalls Giroux vice president Robert Burkhammer. "I knew out in San Bernardino, with our new machines, the price of energy was going to go up so I talked about it [with colleagues] and said why don't we look at using solar cells?"

Burkhammer already says, "It was a good move."

Solar Integrated Technologies in Los Angeles provided the facility with a building integrated photovoltaic (PV) roofing product. Burkhammer describes the product by saying, "They basically use adhesive and it almost looks like linoleum. It's in squares and it's real pliable and they glue it down to the roof. It's not the panels that are in the vertical position, maybe with a 30-degree pitch-we do not have that," he says. This BIPV system is a little more subtle, in that it blends in with the roof.

With this addition, Burkhammer proudly notes, "We're the very first commercial building to have solar power in San Bernardino City."

In addition to the PV system, the company is going green in a number ofother ways, including a recycling program.

"We called Athens Waste Management and asked them if they have any programs for cardboard, because we go through a lot of cardboard; a lot of our material comes in wrapped in cardboard," Burkhammer says. "We have in the past just tossed it in the trash."

Not anymore, as the company is recycling all of its cardboard waste, as well as aluminum materials.

The company also has invested in three SmartCars over the past few months to assist in conserving fuel use, and at 40 miles per gallon, the company is doing just that. Two of the fuel-efficient vehicles are at the Los Angeles headquarters, with one being put to use at the San Bernardino branch.

In addition, through the facility's location within an enterprise zone and with the assistance of local union #636, incentives are offered to employees that choose to carpool or bike to work.

"We're going to be putting bicycle racks in and giving [monetary] incentives to our employees if they ride bikes to work or carpool," Burkhammer notes.

Burkhammer adds that a number of the new employees live close to the facility.

"We're starting with 15 [employees]," explains service assistant Lori Beard, adding, "and we assume it's really going to start growing from there once we get everything in place."

This will be the first facility purchased under the ESOP program, making all the members partners in this endeavor.

The company is hosting a barbecue and ribbon cutting celebration Saturday to celebrate its latest expansion. Giroux is expecting to host Mayor Patrick Morris and members of the San Bernardino City Council, as well as employees and owner Anne-Merelie Murrell.

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