More Dealerships 'Going Green'


MCLEAN, Va. (May 14, 2008) -- Many auto dealers across the country are saving money with a renewed focus on energy conservation. More than 500 dealers, for example, are participating in the ENERGY STAR program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is the first association representing a national retail network to partner with the EPA's ENERGY STAR program. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson praised NADA for its efforts at the association's annual Washington Conference.

“NADA's commitment to energy efficiency education is unprecedented in our program and serves as a model for others,” Johnson said. NADA's Energy Stewardship Initiative challenges dealers to reduce their energy use by at least 10 percent. According to the EPA, if all dealerships reduced their energy consumption by just 10 percent, they would save about $193 million in energy costs and eliminate more than one million tons of greenhouse gases each year. Hundreds of dealers are meeting - and exceeding - the association's challenge in a variety of ways. (Dealers who are interested in participating in the program can find out how by consulting a special brochure, A Dealer Guide to Energy Star: Putting Energy into Profits.

“Doing something as simple as changing the lighting in your showroom can have a real impact on a dealership's energy use and your bottom line,” says Annette Sykora, NADA chairman.

USA Today and NADA recently celebrated the success of one “green” dealer by awarding him with the 2007 Dealer Innovation Award. Jim Hand, president of Hand Motors in Manchester Center, Vt., was selected from four finalists as the national winner of the annual award. Hand Motors expects to save about $30,000 a year in energy costs through its “reduce, recycle and carbon-offset” program. The dealership heats its new, 11,200 sq. ft. service shop with 100 percent waste motor and vegetable oil, at no cost to the dealership. In fact, the dealership saves more than $15,000 per year by not having to buy standard heating oil.

The award's three other finalists were: Jack Quirk Jr., Quirk Auto Park, Bangor, Maine, who installed a natural-gas turbine generator to provide a constant supply of electricity; Steve Jackson, Toyota of Rockwall, Texas, who snagged a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™) Gold certification; and Jack Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald Auto Mall, Bethesda, Md., whose 12 stores recycled more than four million pounds of material last year.

In May 2007, Fitzgerald Auto Malls began using 100 percent wind power at all of its Maryland dealerships, and as a result has been named an EPA Green Power Partner. Fitzgerald says he's committed to using 100 percent “green” power for all of his dealerships in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Several other dealerships are achieving energy savings through the use of solar power. Mercedes-Benz of Arrowhead, Peoria, Ariz., a LEED Silver certified dealership, installed solar panels on the roof to generate power and reflect heat off the building. The dealership is earning credits for power it is generating and pumping back into the electricity grid.

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