Honda Helps Car Dealers Reduce Building Energy

HondaHonda has developed a comprehensive energy efficiency roadmap for dealerships and similar commercial buildings. Honda is publicly releasing its 93-page “Green Dealer Guide” to help automakers across all brands reduce their environmental footprint.

The Honda Green Dealer Guide synthesizes the company’s experience over the past three years helping its US dealers reduce their energy consumption through its Environmental Leadership Program. So far, the program has helped 45 Honda and Acura dealers cut their cumulative annual operating costs by more than $800,000.

Dealerships have unique energy use characteristics that differ from other commercial or industrial energy users. Abundant parking lot and interior lighting, an auto service and repair operation, and an on-site car wash are all common features that can contribute to high energy and water demand. About 46 percent of the average dealer’s energy use can be attributed to interior and exterior lighting, while 43 percent comes from building heating and cooling, according to Honda.

After finding that existing green building programs did not specifically focus on measurably reducing energy and water consumption without disrupting operations, Honda began developing and testing its own program, which includes a path to achieving net-zero energy use. Highest impact improvement areas include installing high-efficiency lighting systems and motion sensors that turn lights off when they’re not needed, optimizing programmable thermostats, replacing older air-conditioning and heating systems with newer, more energy-efficient equipment, and installing low-flow water fixtures. Adding solar panels is another effective way to significantly offset energy usage.

The Green Dealer Guide outlines a four-step plan. Step one involves tracking of electricity, natural gas and water consumption data to identify trends. Next, a professional engineer supervises the dealership’s environmental assessment and provides improvement recommendations with a simple payback. Recommendations can be implemented on-site in as little as one day, or over a period of months if larger capital investment projects are required. Finally, post-implementation performance tracking verifies that the desired energy savings have been achieved.

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