NADA Wants to Help Dealerships ‘Go Green’; How Energy Efficiency Will Improve Your Bottom Line
CAFE standards and fuel efficiency have been water cooler topics for dealerships and OEMs, alike, as gas prices flew over $4 last year and manufacturers look into ways to increase MPG. But what about the dealership itself? Could dealers improve their bottom lines by increasing their stores’ energy efficiency?
In an effort to help dealers move toward “greener” stores, the National Automobile Dealers Association has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency to help stores reduce their energy consumption through the Energy Star program.
As part of this effort, NADA and EPA are trying to get a handle on how dealerships could improve their bottom line by increasing energy efficiency within their store.
The two organizations are asking dealerships to complete a brief survey “that will give the agency a benchmark to better compare the energy usage of dealerships across the country and allow certification of those dealerships that perform well.”
The survey, available at www.nada.org/energystar, asks dealers to share their yearly utility bills, square footage — inside and out — and different types of equipment used at the dealership.
“NADA's ultimate goal is to help dealers learn ways to save energy and reduce their costs,” said Don Chalmers, chairman of NADA's Government Relations Committee, and a Ford and Lincoln dealer in New Mexico. “Before we can begin the Energy Star certification process, we need to benchmark the energy usage of at least 500 dealerships.”
New-car dealers that participate in the survey and reduce their power usage will be recognized by Energy Star for their efforts to reduce the dealership's impact on the environment, officials shared.
Auto Remarketing spoke with Bailey Wood, NADA legislative affairs, who highlighted what achieving Energy Star certification may mean for dealers’ trying to score new loyal customers.
“If they do fill out the survey and cut their energy costs, they can be looked at by the EPA as being a good environmental citizen. And hanging that on the wall has value. People walk into dealerships and buy more fuel efficient cars for not only the value of saving gas, but they also want to show people they are green. And dealers want to do the same thing,” Wood said.
In an attempt to jumpstart the research, NADA has launched a new program called Energy Ally.
Businesses, such as accounting, consulting and energy management firms, that assist at least five dealerships to complete the survey will be awarded an NADA Energy Ally designation. Then, these contractors can use the recognition to market their services to other dealerships, NADA shared.
Why Dealers Should Take Note
Though becoming Energy Star certified could potentially bring in more customers looking to buy from an environmentally responsible retailer, many dealers are concerned the costs of energy efficient tools, such as light bulbs or solar panels, may prove to cost more than the benefits will cover.
Wood says this is simply not the case, noting there are some things you just “can’t put a price on.”
“Number one, there is the intangible fact that greening your dealership will make your world better for a future generation; you can’t put a dollar sign on that,” Wood said.