3-Minute Interview: Mark Klaiman

The senior counselor at San Francisco’s Pet Camp, which runs solar-powered pet-boarding facilities in the Bayview and Presidio Heights, accepted the PG&E Green Business Award on Monday at City Hall as part of Small Business Week.

How has solar power worked for your business? We have more than 320 solar panels installed on our two roofs. We use solar thermal, so we use the sun to make our hot water — we have a tankless water system. And we have high volume, low-speed fans. They very slowly move huge amounts of air and only use 58 watts of power.

Are you paying less, or is this solely an effort to go green? Our power bill at the Bayview campground used to be more than $25,000 a year. Last year, it was $7,000. It’s a classic example that if you do the right thing, you can be a good business and a good environmental steward.

What made you decide to run a green business? The thing that pushed us over the edge was when during the rolling blackouts, all we were hearing from politicians in Washington was that we needed to drill for more oil in the national parks in Alaska. It was an inadequate response to us. There had to be a better answer. We think this is an investment in our future, our business and our employees.

Has Pet Camp gone green in other ways? The thing that gets people get the biggest laugh is we’re working with The City to turn our dog poop into energy. The poop has been sent to labs to be sampled to see how much energy they can produce. We also recycle, compost waste and produce very little trash. We also hope to have a small biomass facility here.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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