Thursday, April 24, 2014

Driving Green in Sarasota

Written by Danielle Troiano, Sarasota resident and member of the Suncoast Electric Vehicle Collaborative 

What do you ask prospective property management companies for when your business outgrows its space?  

Project Director Chris Sharek at Atkins presented a request property management companies didn’t expect:  that the property have an electric vehicle charging station.  Osprey Property Management won Atkins over by installing a charging station, making the Paramount Drive location in their new Sarasota office and the first commercial building in Sarasota County with such an amenity.

Chris Sharek charges his 2011 Chevy Volt at his Sarasota Office
As author of The Electric Vehicle rEVolution, and owner of a 2011 Chevy Volt, Sharek is one of a handful of innovators in the region rallying for greater electric vehicle (EV) adoption and infrastructure to support it.  Friend Ken Stokes and Sharek were instrumental in bringing the 1st and 2nd Annual National Plug-In Day events to Sarasota.  Stokes with his eV Edge enterprise, coupled with his planning and civil engineering background, has been responsible for helping numerous businesses install charging stations throughout the region.  Sarasota County Government jumped on board and provides workplace charging stations at ten (10) sites, as well as adding a plug-in electric vehicle to their fleet. 

Rising interest in EVs sparked the creation of the Suncoast Electric Vehicle Collaborative (SEVC); supported by Sierra Club’s Clean Air Campaign and Beyond Oil Campaign and comprised of local EV drivers, community, and government partners.  Encouraging businesses to install charging stations is just one of the goals of the SEVC.   Workplace charging incentivizes employees, complements sustainability efforts, signals corporate leadership as well as boosts patronage of businesses within the vicinity of charging stations.

The Suncoast Electric Vehicle Collaborative is partnering with Sarasota County Sustainability to present their findings and recommendations, including workplace charging,  to the Sarasota County Commission on Tuesday, May 6 at 9:00 am, at the Robert L. Anderson Administration, 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293. RSVP here to attend the Commission meeting. 

For questions regarding the Sierra Club's Electric Vehicle campaign or the Suncoast Electric Vehicle Collaborative, contact Britten Cleveland, Sierra Club Conservation Organizer at