May 31, 2011
Dealerships sprinkled across the nation are becoming environmentally conscious business leaders through some impressive new-construction choices. Take, for example, a Texas dealership that used green building techniques and materials to construct a new complex.
Recycled aluminum cans and discarded construction materials were used for the outside walls. Sunlight illuminates almost every room in the building during the day. Parking spots close to the building are assigned to employees who carpool or drive hybrids to work. Even bike racks and showers are provided to encourage biking to work.
Not planning to build a new facility anytime soon? That’s all right. Here are some tips for making your dealership greener this year without even turning a brick — many are free or inexpensive:
- Ask your employees to brainstorm energy-saving, environmentally friendly changes to old habits.
- Arrange an energy audit — most utility companies offer an energy consumption audit for a small fee, and some offer rebates or low-interest loans for energy-saving improvements you make.
- Take advantage of manufacturer initiatives — these may include, for example, access to technical expertise and resources to assist with selection of energy-efficient products and equipment.
- Install energy-efficient lighting, such as LED — the rebates and savings could allow it to pay for itself.
- If your part of the country has cold winters, install waste oil furnaces that will heat your buildings on oil removed during customer oil changes.
- Add recycling units that reuse sink wastewater in toilets.
- Replace drafty windows and install solar panels to help lower heating and air conditioning bills.
- File titles and liens electronically.
- Put filters on water faucets in lieu of providing bottled water.
- Install motion detectors on lights.
- Put blinds on westward-facing windows to lower cooling costs.
Don’t stop indoors. Mulch flower beds to improve water retention and install soil moisture sensors to lower sprinkler consumption.
As you make improvements, track your progress by comparing utility bills year to year, and make note of the savings. Also, be sure to ask your CPA for guidance on current available state and federal tax credits and incentives for energy renovations.
Dealer Insights – May/June 2011