Thursday, February 29, 2024

This small auto biz went eco-friendly, but there are roadblocks from the city, owner says

(HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of Tyrone Jarvis)
The water filtration system Jarvis built to deliver rainwater to his shop. (HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of Tyrone Jarvis)

NEWPORT NEWS — Go Green Auto Care has based its business model on striving to be as eco-friendly as it can.

Opening just eight years ago, Go Green Auto Care has been the place for Newport News residents to get their used cars tuned up.

Its owner, Tyrone Jarvis, said the business started out with him going to car lots and advising buyers on what vehicles they should or should not buy.

After many people asked him to tune up those cars, he decided it was time to open up his shop.

The difference between his shop and other auto care shops is his dedication to being ecologically conscious.

He said instead of using the wasteful ways that regular auto shops are engaged in, he wanted to create a shop that focused on being good to the environment.

The path to rainwater

The dream started small: Jarvis used EPA guidelines for best practices in the shop. He switched from most chemicals to eco-friendly alternatives and even wanted to install solar panels.

That all changed when a leak under his concrete parking lot cost Jarvis nearly $4,000 rather than the usual $70-$80 bill.

The movement to switching from city water to rain water began there.

“There should be a better way,” he said at the time. He wasn’t happy about the waste of water.

Jarvis did some research online and came across a manual, the Virginia Rainwater Harvesting Manual, that would help him build his own safe rain water filtration service.

The whole operation cost him about $2,000 and despite having the water tested by a third party facility, the city has not let him run his shop without using the city hookup, Jarvis said.

He hopes to be able to make his auto shop completely sustainable but is facing roadblocks from the city concerning his water system.

Newport News officials did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Possible legislation from Del. David Yancey could move Jarvis’ wish for an “eco-bill” to a reality.

Once the city has agreed on a way for him to use only rain water, Jarvis hopes to move to solar power for the shop and then rainwater for his home.

To learn more about the EPA’s best workplace practices for Automotive Repair and Fleet Maintenance, click here.

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