Volume 10, Issue 4 - July/August 2008

Repair Round-Up
NWRA reports

The Green Keeps Growing
by Paul Syfko

At our 2007 Annual Conference, the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) launched its Green Initiative. At that time, I wrote that our green movement was not one born from the long-haired-hippy point-of-view, but rather a movement to a more profitable business model through business practices based upon sustainability. (This is no offense to the long-haired hippies in the AGRR industry.) The repair industry is, by its very nature, energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Laminated glass cannot be recycled through a resource neutral process. Therefore, it makes sense that laminated glass damage should be repaired when possible. 

Fact on Our Side
We know through studies done by members of the repair community that windshield repair not only is environmentally friendly because it helps avert the replacement of difficult to recycle laminated glass, but also because it is incredibly energy efficient. When taking into account all that goes into the production of one windshield and comparing that to the production of one kilogram of resin, windshield repair proves to be far more energy efficient. We have found for all practical purposes that at least 10,000 windshield repairs can be performed using the same amount of energy it takes to produce one windshield. Industry research also indicates that repairing a windshield produces one-third of the CO2 equivalent emissions of a replacement. This is real science that has real impact on our industry and world community. 

Hitting the Road
At this time, NWRA is preparing to hit the road and take its green initiative and research to consumers, insurance commissioners and companies and parallel green industries. We currently are completing a green (white) paper that will outline with hard science, some of which was included above, the environmental impact of un-recycled laminated glass upon our environment. The green paper will also contrast the environmental aspects of laminated glass repair with those of replacement. The goal of the green paper will be universal acceptance of laminated glass repair as a green process. 

The NWRA green paper will be released at our 2008 Annual Conference in Las Vegas on November 7 during Auto Glass Week™. It will also be on display from our booth as we exhibit at this November’s Greenbuild Show in Boston.NWRA members will have exclusive access to green paper promotional materials. These materials will be distributed from member shops and at nationwide green movement events such as Earth Day celebrations. 

The Green Pledge
NWRA will not stop with just promoting the repair industry as green. We are also on the verge of releasing a green pledge to our membership. We want our association and its members to be examples instead of belonging to the “Say as I do” crowd. We will be asking our membership and then the auto glass industry as a whole to pledge to create an industry based upon sustainability. Sustainability, in our context, refers to business practices that contribute to, instead of hamper, the longevity of our ecological support systems.

Those that sign the NWRA pledge will be provided with materials that will provide them a step-by-step plan to help make their businesses and lives more environmentally friendly. These business practices are not only morally correct, but profitable. Most green business practices involve the elimination of waste, whether wasted energy, product or action. Business owners know that often the best way to higher profits is more efficient internal business practices. 

One example that will be included in our green business planning materials is fleet route planning. Not only does intelligent fleet route planning save time and allow for more jobs per hour, but it also saves gas. Those savings affect our bottom lines and our carbon footprints, and what’s good for the environment is good for your business and the our industry. 

To learn more about the NWRA and its green initiative, please visit www.nwrassn.org. 

Paul Syfko is president of Glass Medic America in Westerville, Ohio, and serves as president of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA). Mr. Syfko’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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