Chain | Cohn | Stiles law firm has been awarded a 2017 Kern Green Award, which recognizes business, organizations and individuals going above and beyond to make a positive environmental impact in Kern County.
The Bakersfield-based personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm won the award in the “Green Building Material and Design” category for the array of “green” features in its new office in downtown Bakersfield.
The Kern Green Awards Gala took place May 10 at Aera Energy LLC. Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney and partner Jim Yoro and marketing director Jorge Barrientos accepted the award from representatives of Granite Construction, which sponsored the award.
“We here at the law firm are committed not only to the revitalization of the downtown Bakersfield area, but we want to do so in an environmentally conscious way,” said Yoro, veteran workers’ compensation lawyer with Chain | Cohn | Stiles, accepting the award. “We took the initiative when we were building our new office to keep that in mind, and go ‘green’ as much as we could.”
After spending 30 years in the Bank of America building on Chester and Truxtun avenues, the 83-year-old local law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles moved into a new building, and in doing so contributed tremendously to the revitalization of downtown Bakersfield.
The six-month renovation of the 30,000 square-foot building on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street changed the landscape of one of downtown Bakersfield’s most historic intersections. With the help of architect Paul Skarphol and contractor Dave Whitezell, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took a shell of a building that once housed Goodwill Industries and sat vacant for nearly three years, and turned it into a modern workplace for the 30-employee firm, while instilling “green” measures that took into account our environment.
Some of the green elements instilled by Chain | Cohn | Stiles include:
- LED, energy efficient lighting throughout the building, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Motion sensor lighting and outlets to guarantee computers and other equipment aren’t wasting energy.
- Cutting-edge, high-tech, energy-efficient climate control system to cut down on unnecessary heating and air conditioning; more than 20 thermostat stations. The Daikin air conditioning and heating unit uses an inverter that can save 30 percent more in energy than traditional non-inverter units. Considering HVAC systems occupy about 40 percent of a building’s entire energy consumption, the savings are immense.
- Water-based paint.
- Recycled carpet.
In addition, the front lobby – with hanging LED ring lights, a glass LED lit logo sign – is a welcoming sight for clients and visitors. New windows were also cut into 17-inch reinforced concrete walls on the north side of the building, creating more natural light into work spaces. The law firm has worked with Boss Pizza and Bakersfield Downtown Business Association to install energy-saving lights to make the alleyway and nearby area safer.
A challenge for law firms who care about the environment involves the huge amounts of paper produced. To tackle this challenge, Chain | Cohn | Stiles scans and stores all documents electronically. The firm also employs email and fax capabilities, which do not require the printing of documents to send.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 7, 2015, and celebrated its one-year anniversary in the building in late 2016. For its work, Chain | Cohn | Stiles was nominated for a Beautiful Bakersfield Award, also received the Downtown Beautification Project award from the Bakersfield Downtown Business Association.
Kern Green, a local non-profit committed to protecting the environment through education and awareness, partners with local organizations to promote a more sustainable future in Kern County. Kern Green works with residents, schools, businesses, other local non-profits and the community to demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits of integrating green practices in daily work and professional life. Kern Green intends to focus on the positive sustainability efforts in Kern County and celebrate them with the public.
Kern County has one of the highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases in California, and Bakersfield ranks as having one of the worst air pollution ratings in the country. The level of air pollution in the region of Kern County poses both environmental and public health risks. From increased respiratory diseases to damage to the area’s ecosystems, there is a serious need to address the air pollution problem in this region. While geographical and topographical issues play a role in the problem, the level of industrial activities, the presence of major transportation corridors, and the car-dominant design of the population centers also contribute heavily to the region’s problems. The Kern Green program provides education and resources for businesses and residents to reduce their environmental impact and improve quality-of-life in the region.
The Kern Green Awards banquet acknowledges and provides positive reinforcement to students, educators, businesses and individuals for their efforts to perform green and sustainable practices.
To see photos from the 2017 Kern Green Awards Banquet, please click here.