SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation recently completed its first project in Carpinteria with the college’s new Students in Free Enterprise chapter.

SIFE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing sustainability to the business world. The SBCC chapter consists of students from various disciplines, including leadership classes. Under the direction of Melissa Moreno, director of the SBCC Scheinfeld Center, the SIFE chapter undertakes various projects each semester.

Using grant funds that were awarded to the SIFE team from the Sam’s Club Environmental Sustainability Challenge, the SIFE students worked with a local small business and implemented a strategy for improved immediate and future energy efficiency and recycling at the office of Seascape Realty in Carpinteria.

Over a two-month period, the SIFE students improved Seascape’s use of energy and implemented an upgraded recycling system.

In April, the SIFE students hosted an event at Seascape Realty commemorating the success of the project to bring awareness to the community on how small steps taken toward energy efficiency and recycling by small businesses can have a big impact.

Working with the principal of Seascape Realty, Shirley Kimberlin, students installed weather stripping around the front door to prevent loss of heat or cold and “Smart” power strips to save energy. The Smart Strips only use one watt of power and automatically turn electronics off based on usage. Less than a ¼-watt is used when outlets are off. Students also installed lamps that use 13 watt GU24 compact fluorescent bulbs that deliver 800 lumens of light The Seascape office was supplied with 100 percent recycled paper that was processed with 100 percent post-consumer content and endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance.

In addition, Seascape Realty committed to the use of an eco-friendly search engine Ecosia. Ecosia is an official partner of the World Wildlife Foundation. Bing and Yahoo! are the underlying search engines that help bring income from sponsors. Ecosia donates 80 percent of these proceeds to support WWF’s work saving the Amazon rainforest.

Finally, the students helped Seascape implement a better recycling program and installed nine recycling bins around the office. As a final touch, the students replaced an aged refrigerator with an Energy Star efficient appliance.

Overall, it is projected that Seascape will save $1,000 per year in energy costs as a result of the sustainable practices incorporated, and several tons of waste will be diverted or recycled.

“It was really exciting to have our SIFE team work with a small business in our community and to have an actual impact,” SIFE team leader Claire Skodnek said. “The mission of this SIFE project was to bring awareness of the importance of small businesses taking steps toward sustainability and adopting environmentally friendly practices. I think we accomplished this goal as a team.”

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.