A commitment to the environment and a willingness to go above and beyond recently earned Metro Lighting one of Acterra’s Business Environmental Awards, which honor green businesses in the San Francisco bay area. The Berkeley, CA, showroom won in the Sustainable Built Environment category for its new showroom and manufacturing facility.
Christa Rybczynski, who owns the business with her husband Lawrence Grown (both pictured with their showroom’s solar array), says the decision to use environmentally friendly business practices was a natural one for the pair, who both hold degrees in architecture.
“That’s just how we do things,” she says. “If we’re going to make this our home that we’re going to be in for 20 years, we wanted to do it right.”
In business since 1993, Metro Lighting moved to a new showroom last year, transforming a dilapidated building into an eco-friendly space with LEED Silver certification. During the renovation, Rybczynski and Grown incorporated green building practices such as reusing the lumber from a drop ceiling they had torn out, as well as using 100 percent wool carpet, bamboo cabinetry, zero-VOC paint and automatic hand dryers. The couple also installed a rooftop solar array, which provides all of the electricity for Metro Lighting.
Kirsten Flynn, one of the award judges, says it was things like this that made the five-person company stand out from the other finalists.
“One characteristic that we ask ourselves when judging a sustainable building is ‘Did the applicant go above and beyond? Did they surpass what they needed to do for functionality, and did they go beyond what would just save them money?’ Metro Lighting clearly did,” Flynn said in a statement. “They designed their showroom and manufacturing facility not just to meet the needs of their business today, or to meet a LEED standard, but to create a building that would improve the neighborhood, be energy independent long term, and showcase sustainability.”
Rybczynski, who accepted the award at a ceremony on June 2, says everyone at Metro Lighting was thrilled to be honored.
“We were really excited about winning because we were in amazing company with the other winners,” she says. “Another company that won in our same category was a much larger organization so it was a great feeling to be in the same company as other business who were doing such great work.”
Metro Lighting is also one of the finalists in the Revenue Under $2 Million category for the 2nd Annual Showroom of the Year Awards, which is sponsored by Residential Lighting and the Dallas Market Center. Winners will be announced during the Dallas Intl. Lighting Market opening reception on June 23.