Going green is a trend that is not going anywhere as more and more companies work to reduce their footprint and more consumers are considering environmental responsibility as a buying incentive.
In the automotive industry today, OEMs are challenged to meet strict regulations that work to reduce emissions and drive energy efficiency in their designs. Automotive dealerships have also taken steps to contribute to the environment, by creating dealer guidelines and adopting programs like the Honda Green Dealer Program.
In order to help position your dealership as an environmental leader among other dealerships, and to lower overhead costs, you have now have several options to make changes that work towards achieving Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Certification. Depending on your location and facility situation, we have outlined 10 relatively easy options to help your dealership go green.
1. Switch to LED & Florescent Lights
Make the lighting systems inside and outside your dealership more efficient by simply switching out your bulbs. For your lot, invest in LED lamps that last longer, lower electricity use, and don’t generate as much heat. For your showroom and inside your building, swap out incandescent bulbs with fluorescents.
2. Use Motion Sensors, Dimmers, & Timers
To further increase the efficiency of your lighting systems, install motion sensors, dimmers and timers that minimize unnecessary light use. By just utilizing timers to control your lot lights at night, you can reduce your light pollution by up to 80%.
3. Go Solar
Add solar panels to your pole lamps or roof to generate your own energy and cut down on energy costs. Additionally, you can save on lighting costs by depending on sunlight to light your space—adding a skylight window can also help with heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
4. Make Windows Energy Efficient
Dealership showrooms are often designed with floor-to-ceiling windows that let in lots of natural light, but also tend to drive up heating and cooling costs. Installing energy-efficient windows is the best way to save the most energy, however, a lower cost solution is treating existing windows with an insulation film.
5. Cool the Roof
A “cool roof” is a roofing system that delivers greater solar reflectance and higher thermal emittance—reducing heat transfer to your building and radiating absorbed solar energy. They are a relatively low cast way to reduce carbon emissions and there are various types of cool roofs to choose from. Another way to achieve a “cool roof” is to paint over your existing room with cool roof coating.
6. Upgrade Heating Systems
There is a lot of opportunity to save on heating costs by investing in smarter systems. According to ENERGY STAR, high-efficiency storage-tank water heaters use 10-20% less energy; tankless water heaters use 45-60% less energy; heat-pump water heaters use 65% less energy; and solar water-heating systems use 70-90% less energy. Any of these options will help you save energy and reduce overhead. Additionally, there is a lot of smart thermostat technology on the market to consider, and by turning your thermostat down 10-15 degrees for eight hours each day, you can save 10% of annual heating and cooling costs.
7. Reduce Water Use
By installing efficient water fixtures and using recycled water, you can greatly reduce your consumption. To reduce water used to maintain your landscape, consider native plants because they can typically survive on rain in their natural habitat. Another creative option used by Lost Pines Toyoda dealership is to collect runoff from air conditioning units and use it to water plants.
8. Recycle & Buy Recycled
If you aren’t already recycling in your dealership, set up a station for employees to use for everyday office items such as paper, ink cartridges, styrofoam goods, etc. In your service lane, you can recycle many items such as filters, tires, batteries, scrap metal, wood pallets, as well as engine oil and antifreeze—just be sure to follow the strict regulations for recycling these types of materials from the Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling will also work to reduce your garbage bill. Additionally, you should also make an effort to buy recycled materials, even if it’s just disposable coffee cups, it’ll make a difference.
9. Swap Out Solutions
There are lots of green substitutes for common solutions used in a dealership. You can use biodegradable vegetable oil to lubricate lifts instead of petroleum-based hydraulic fluid; solvent-based paints in your body shop can be replaced by waterborne paint; and cleaning supplies can be replaced with environmentally-friendly alternatives.
10. Go Paperless
Lastly, go paperless! Do what you can to digitize paperwork and processes to reduce paper waste. Many service providers, including Budco Financial, offer electronic contracting and invoicing to streamline processes and reduce their carbon footprint. Consider paperless Purchase Order processes, as well as enrolling customers in paperless invoicing options. Outside of business paperwork, you can also replace paper towel dispensers with electric hand dryers—it’ll save a lot of materials in the long run.