Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sonny's Collision: First Eco-Friendly Auto Body Shop in NYS

By Patricia Adams

It used to be that “green” was the color of money and while that still holds true today, the concept of green has far more reaching implications than it’s association to cash. The term that is more familiar in today’s society is “going green”, and it’s a term of global consequence.

In virtually every industry, talk of “going green” is all the rage, considering the troubles with our planet’s environment that are so highly publicized. While many people still feel skeptical about global warming, it doesn’t take too much convincing that the huge population of the Earth is taking its toll on our planet.

In addition to the growing number of individuals who share these grave concerns, business owners in every industry have realized the importance of minimizing their contributions to pollution. They are consistently making the wise choice to become environmentally friendly while also serving the growing number of consumers who feel the responsibility to patronize businesses that are just as concerned as they are.

At Sonny’s Auto Collision in Richmond Hill, it was the “absolutely right move” to go green according to owner Frank Shiavone. Long known for their state of the art equipment and reliable service, Sonny’s is the first auto body repair shop in the state of New York to make the environmentally friendly transition by becoming a green shop.

Shiavone says that making the tremendous investment in converting his shop was a decision he reached fairly quickly after reviewing all the details. But going green wasn’t easy and came with a price tag of close to $100,000. “The basic premise of what “green” means in terms of this industry is the use of waterborne paints which contain less Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).”

But revamping the entire system involves much more than that. “Not only did we eliminate and dispose of all other paint,” says Shiavone, “we installed new air filtration systems, compressors compatible with the water based paints that also circulate clean air and then completed the other phases of the conversion.”

Already sporting the most highly-rated spraying booths in the industry, USI Italia, Sonny’s now uses ultraviolet curing body fillers and primers to reduce the use of solvents, energy efficient sodium lights, has installed multi-stage dust filters and ceiling filters to trap particles that would normally escape through the roof into the air and also uses only biodegradable soap to wash the cars. Also incorporated into the shop is a high-pressure wash system that uses minimal amounts of water and is filtered before running off in drains.

Typically, the consumer won’t notice much of a visible difference as the auto industry has been using water based paint for new vehicles for over twenty years. The new “green” paints can deliver the same perfect matched color systems to repaired autos.

If you have any doubt about the benefits of the green conversion, stop in at Sonny’s and ask Frank if you can see his spray booths. What you’ll find there is a virtually immaculate setup, free from dust and filler residue. The most obviously absent component however---the smell of paint. There simply isn’t one.

“I am not at all surprised to see the positive reactions of our customers when they learn about the steps we have taken,” said Shiavone. “They are a lot more concerned with the environment than many people realize.”

If you would like to learn more about the shop and the services they offer you can stop located at 106-12 Atlantic Avenue or call (718) 738-6721.

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