Sarah Eckerling gets her hair washed by Melissa Morgan on Tuesday at Andrea’s hair salon. The Boulder salon has won four PACE certifications —energy, waste, water and transportation.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of the photo caption of this story misidentified the women. In the picture, Melissa Morgan is getting her hair washed by Sarah Eckerling. The caption has been corrected.

Andrea’s hair salon recently earned a rare distinction as a sustainable business.

The Boulder salon, 2490 Junction Place #103, became the first business to get recognized for being efficient in its use of energy, water, transportation, and for its efficient waste disposal by Partners for a Clean Environment  (PACE). The partnership of local governments and businesses in Boulder County, which began in 1993, is committed to creating a business community that follows environmentally sustainable practices, and offers advice, incentives and a certification program to achieve that goal. More than 300 businesses and municipal operations across Boulder County (20 percent of all businesses and operations) are PACE certified.

There are three other businesses that have a three PACE certifications each, said Kaela Martins, a PACE advisor who worked with Andrea’s to achieve its sustainability goal. Andrea’s exceeded the benchmark established for different certifications, she said. For example, the luxury salon is diverting 95% of its waste to composting and recycling, and the business is using 33% less water than usage predicted by code, Martins said. It uses high-efficiency water fixtures, she said.

The certifications can help Andrea’s tell its sustainability story, she said.

“We wanted to be the greenest salon in Boulder,” said Andrea Catron, who co-owns the salon with her husband Peter Fahlenkamp. The duo, who have been in the salon business for more than two years, moved to its current location in Boulder Commons a little over a year ago to be an efficient business, Catron said. Boulder Commons is a net-zero energy building, meaning that the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site through solar panels.

“It aligns with our values,” Fahlenkamp said. He closely monitors electricity usage on each outlet in the 1,200-square-feet salon using app-based smart devices. “We are trying to show we can run a business with minimal power usage.”

Fahlenkamp even modified the condenser in the small refrigerator (that consumes 236 kilowatt hours annually) at his salon to reduce energy consumption. His first experiment cut electricity usage by 14%, he said.

Andrea’s also uses products with organic ingredients, Catron said.

“We use compostable gloves. We are always looking for sustainably-sourced, better quality products,” she said. Recycling and composting locally means a reduced carbon footprint, she said.

According to an online estimate, the North American salon industry produces about 421,206 pounds of waste daily, or more than 150 million pounds of trash annually, Fahlenkamp said.

Fahlenkamp and Catron also provide bus passes to the salon’s four employees. The developer of Boulder Commons provides free bicycles that employees can use for commuting, Catron said.

Many customers appreciate the steps Andrea’s has taken to promote sustainability, Fahlenkamp said. “It comes down to a shared vision.”

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