Photograph by Jay Westcott.Hans Hess: Clearing the air one ride at a time
What’s green and white and driving people around town? EnviroCab, the local taxi company that uses only hybrid cars. It also buys carbon offsets for the lower emissions the hybrids produce. Along with the fleet of 50 taxis, EnviroCab is now offering black “limos”—larger hybrids for people who normally use a car service.
Hans Hess, owner of Elevation Burger in Falls Church, started EnviroCab two years ago with nephew Cord Thomas. Hess had grown up in California in a family with a strong conservation ethic. He came to Washington to work on the Hill and then joined a company that designed mixed-use projects for universities. The biggest challenge often was finding the right restaurants for the mix.
Hess built on that experience to start Elevation Burger in Falls Church, offering only hamburgers made of grass-fed, organic beef and French fries made in heart-healthy olive oil. He’s opening three more Elevation Burgers in the region.
Growing both of his businesses is all part of Hess’s plan to make a profit while staying true to his environmental philosophy. So far, it’s working.
“People at cab stands,” he says, “will pass the first or second taxi in line and go to EnviroCab instead.”