Deep sustainable business practices are baked into the DNA of MCE's Deep Green customer VenturePad, Marin’s new premier coworking space, business incubator and event venue, which opened on March 1 in downtown San Rafael at 1020 B Street. VenturePad will cultivate, support and connect over 150 entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives, and purpose-driven ventures. The design, buildout, and operations of the space use low impact, energy savings practices. VenturePad, a Benefit Corporation, will be applying to be a certified green business program. Educational programs will include green business training and hosting of triple bottom line start-ups and impact enterprises.
VenturePad has 4000 sq ft of productive, open space, full of natural light with 16' high ceilings, private suites, lounges, open desks, meeting rooms, kitchen and a central café. Programs include lunch and learns, afterwork workshops, training and coaching programs, as well as a wrap around “C-suite team” of professional service providers who will offer affordable, integrated, specialized skills such as IP protection, fundraising, software development, branding, website creation, revenue generation and more.
VenturePad’s two co-founders are formally trained in, teach, mentor and promote sustainability best practices. Alejandro Moreno, polyglot, raised in Marin — greenMBA alum from Dominican University and a UC Berkeley alum —helped run Venture Greenhouse, Marin's first business incubator which launched over 60 mission driven start-ups. Chris Yalonis is a graduate of the Presidio Graduate School, a top green biz school. Chris has taught social entrepreneurship and sustainability at Sonoma State, and chaired the San Rafael Chamber Green Business Committee for years. He has been on the ground floor of many firms including Autodesk and Survey Monkey. Says Chris Yalonis, “our sustainability performance metrics will primarily be focused on being a carbon neutral and zero waste operation.” The zero carbon goals are achieved by being a MCE Deep Green customer, so that our entire energy use is generated with renewable sources”. Yalonis continues, “from the start, we designed and built VenturePad using low impact materials and practices”. Those practices included:
- Locally assembled tables made of reclaimed wood, bamboo and sustainably harvested wood materials.
- Purchases of high quality but reused equipment and furniture from local businesses instead of high footprint new furniture.
- Hardwood floors having sustainable cork layering for low noise and low petroleum use.
- Strict adherence to Title 24 energy codes, including occupancy and light sensors in each room which dim or shut off lights when unoccupied or when natural light from the glass walls illuminate the space.
- Inside rooms harvest natural light all day with glass walls and doors.
- All lighting is LED, which uses 15% the energy of incandescent and 50% of fluorescents. Lifespan is 20x longer than incandescent and 3x that of CFL’s. Rapidly declining LED costs have made payback much sooner.
- Most days it's not necessary to turn on the lights.
- All member computers, office equipment and appliances are Energy Star rated.
- Members and staff are trained in zero waste practices, including supplier low impact packaging, composting, recycling, minimal shared printing on recycled paper.
- Recognizing that transportation is 61% of Marin’s GHG emissions, VenturePad will work with the building owners and the City to install EV charging stations and bike racks nearby, as well facilitate walking, mass transit and ride-sharing to its office for members and visitors.
An idea whose time has come: A full service, accessible, cowork community that acts as a hub and model for sustainable business practices and impact entrepreneurship in Marin.
Contact: Chris Yalonis, Co-founder and President, VenturePad, 415-309-0331, firstname.lastname@example.org