People told Craig Richards and Cary Curry, co-owners of Curry Auto Center
, that it couldn’t be done. But a waterborne-paint system in the company’s new Collision Center
would be much better for the environment, since the paint is lower in pollutants. It made sense for the cars, too, most of which leave the factory today with that kind of paint. But the state-of-the-art equipment and training necessary to make the switch had body-shop owners telling Richards and Curry that it would never work. Still, when the Collision Center opened in 2008, a sophisticated waterborne-paint system was ready to go.
Curry Auto Center
became the first car repair facility in southern Indiana to install such a system, says Richards, and a few others have since followed. “In Bloomington, there’s a strong sense of environmental awareness,” says Curry. “Whether you embrace it or not, it’s here. We choose to embrace it.”
The waterborne paints drastically reduce emissions of solvents and VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. A post-filtration system filters air from the paint booths twice—when it first exits the booth, then again through a separate system—before being released. Vacuum sanders hang above each repair station to easily eliminate particle and dust emissions. Equipment is powered by a rotary screw compressor, significantly reducing decibel levels and noise pollution.
Even the landscaping in front of the building was designed by Nature’s Way with earth-friendly touches such as pervious concrete to allow for more efficient rainwater drainage. “The timing was right,” says Richards, noting that waterborne paint has been the industry standard in Europe for more than a decade and became largely mandatory in California last year, with similar laws going into effect in Canada this year. “It’s just a matter of time before it becomes mandated here, and we didn’t want to wait.”
Besides, the company needed a new Collision Center
anyway, having outgrown its old facility years ago. When the property next door became available, it made sense to build from the ground up. “The new building was a blank slate,” says Curry, whose family founded the company in 1915. “When you’re starting a building from scratch, making it environmentally friendly is the conscientious thing