At Ocean First Divers, we believe in being the change we want to see in the world. As we continue to develop and refine our business practices, we consider the ecological, social and economic consequences of our actions and strive to create balance within our community. We firmly believe that, as stewards of the marine environment, we have the responsibility to encourage ethical behavior and travel decisions in our clients. This begins with the dive center, long before the client even sets foot in the water. To this point, we’ve embarked on an audacious project to completely retrofit our building and become as energy independent as the existing facility will permit. We aspire to have our green initiatives and environmental viewpoints serve as a guiding light to our customers, suppliers, and the dive industry as a whole, shifting the paradigm for how we manage and interact with our greatest natural resource.
- Conducted a complete energy audit
- Installed a 9.9 kW photovoltaic solar system on the roof. To date, it has generate almost ten Megawatts of energy!
- Retrofited every lighting fixture in the building
- Installed motion sensors on light switches
- Replaced inefficient pool and exterior lights with high-efficiency, long-life bulbs
- Instituted work policies to turn off electrical equipment when not in use, eliminating standby features and ‘vampire energy usage’
- Installed an online energy monitoring system for the building
- Installed Energy-Star compliant washer, dryer, and Point-Of-Sale equipment
- Retrofitted all computers with new, energy star models
- Installed low flow showerheads and faucets in bathrooms and renovated deck showers
- Tank minimizers in toilet basins
- Installed tankless water heaters for domestic hot water
- Request clients supply their own towels to minimize washing requirements
- Xeriscaped the building’s exterior to minimize irrigation usage
- Replaced broken traditional urinal with a waterless model
- Completed a retrofit and automation of our HVAC system to improve efficiency and longevity
- Installation of a solar thermal heating system for the pool
- Multi-speed pool pumps and a regenerative heat exchanger takes latent heat from the pool and returns it to heat the pool
- Sustainable and non-toxic materials such as bamboo and low-VOC paints used during building updates
- Bicycle fleet purchased to encourage employees to use alternative transportation, along with a transportation incentive program
- Conducted a trash audit and initiated a zero-waste program with Eco-Cycle
In the Industry
Additionally, each year OFD keeps enough material out of landfills to cover a football field half an inch high. We organize annual highway and beach cleanups and promote these ideas to local citizens at destinations we visit. We are proud to have participated in lobbying for important environmental legislation such as the Shark Conservation Act and Ocean Week. We are committed to being responsible stewards of our environment and we approach each new project with this responsibility in mind. We have undergone a couple of significant renovation projects in the past two years, having utilized only VOC free paints and recycled or renewable resources such as Trex, bamboo and wheatboard.
- Placed pressure on our suppliers to reduce the amount of shipping material and associated waste by encouraging minimal packing materials.
- Collaborated with Sustainable Travel International and Scuba Schools International to create the "Shore Excursions and Dive Center Standard," a sustainability assessment for dive shops
- Conducted a grassroots program to encourage dive travelers to only visit locations which display eco-friendly business practices
We are particularly proud of our ongoing relationship with the friendly and innovative folks at Ecologic Designs. We challenged them to find a way to reuse old wetsuits and they came up with a very clever Wetsuit Reclamation Program. What started as a wish of some eco-minded divers has blossomed into an international program with participants like the Olympics and Patagonia. At Ocean First Divers, we are proud to support Ecologic Designs with a multisport reclamation station, and we know this is just the beginning.