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Creating an energy-efficient dealership

November 17, 2010

Opportunities to save energy and lower utility costs are also opportunities to improve a dealership’s bottom line. One excellent way to learn about potential energy efficiency improvements is from industry peers. Such success stories can reveal details of the work, time, and investment involved and the improvements achieved.


Evidence of the potential for dealership energy efficiency improvements is a Virginia Acura, Lexus and Chevrolet dealership, visited in conjunction with the development of an NADA management education guide. The sprawling automobile campus has three dealerships and a number of service buildings totaling 250,000 square feet of space, not including an off-site collision repair center.


The successes achieved at this facility came from the efforts of the dealership group’s facility manager, with the support of the dealer-owners. Many energy efficiency improvement opportunities have been launched within the constraints of the franchisors’ design specifications. Various dealership personnel are involved in the improvements with several outside product and service providers, including lighting professionals. Some of the improvements include:


  • Building ShellA master switch shuts down the entire facility at closing, except for select security lighting.
  • Showrooms—Metal halide lamps in areas with high ceilings.
  • Parts/Service Areas—Suspended and looped compressed air-distribution systems.
  • Vehicle Washing/Detailing Areas—Greater than 50 percent water reclamation.
  • Dealership Lot/Building Exteriors—Exterior lighting incorporating photocells to reduce day burning.
  • Body Shop—T5HO lighting for the bodywork examination area.


To achieve similar results, dealers should consider contacting appropriate professionals to review or energy-audit their facilities for potential energy savings.


Many opportunities exist for cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades at dealership facilities. In addition, even more fruitful opportunities exist for dealerships involved in new construction or major facility renovations. These opportunities will only become more numerous and attractive in the future as energy costs increase and new technologies and strategies become available.


This article was adapted from "A Dealer Guide to Energy Star: Putting Energy into Profits." The guide can be ordered online at or by calling the NADA at 800-252-NADA, ext. 2. For more information and assistance, contact the NADA or the ENERGY STAR Small Business Network at 1-888-STAR-YES or