Auto dealers should consider letting sunlight power their location. They can install photovoltaic solar systems that can benefit the environment and also save money.
That is one tip that Manheim is sharing for dealers to increase their green efforts in celebration of Earth Day earlier this week.
Manheim is also taking on new sustainability initiatives of its own.
Manheim said that as a Cox company, protecting the environment is at the heart of its operations. The company said the national sustainability program that Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy founded in 2007 has set a goal of achieving zero waste to landfill status by 2024.
That national sustainability program is called Cox Conserves, and it also sets a goal of being carbon and water neutral by 2034.
Cox Enterprises director of sustainability Stephanie Valdez-Streaty offers the following tips for dealers looking to boost their own sustainability efforts:
Upgrade to energy-efficient light bulbs
Dealers looking to cut lighting energy consumption by up to 90% can invest in energy-efficient lighting. Valdez-Streaty said LED lighting lasts longer than traditional incandescent lighting. It can also use up to 90% less energy. Because LEDs also emit less heat, that can reduce air conditioning needs.
Let sunlight power your dealership
More on photovoltaic solar systems: Valdez-Streaty said that in many cases, energy costs are a dealership’s third highest operating expense. She said dealers should consider installing solar panels to power all or part of their business. Federal investment tax credits of up to 26% of the cost of the solar investment are available for eligible companies. Many states, counties, municipalities and utilities also offer other incentives for solar. Dealers can check with their local government for availability.
Place recycling bins in key areas
Dealers can place recycling bins in areas such as the showroom, customer service areas, office and break room areas, and vehicle service areas. Recycling bins that are easily accessible encourage customers and employees to recycle. They can show your dealership’s commitment to operating sustainably.
Recycle and reuse car-wash water
Dealers who are rebuilding their dealerships or adding carwashes onto their existing dealerships should consider that option. Recycling and reusing car wash water involve upfront costs, but the savings could be notable, depending on the number of cars washed and the price of water in your area, Valdez-Streaty said. It could lower monthly water fees and sewer fees. It could take time, but it could eventually pay for itself.
Choose native greenery
Dealers can choose native plants when landscaping their property. The extra effort and cost to use native plants is minimal for dealers who are already planning on spending money on landscaping, Valdez-Streaty said. They can save on water costs because when native plants are in their natural habitat, they can typically survive on rain.
Manheim’s own green efforts
Three locations are currently undergoing major energy savings upgrades. The upgrades include a large solar array at Manheim New Jersey and campus-wide LED installations at Manheim San Diego and Manheim Southern California. Manheim said the initiatives build on eco-conscious initiatives at many of its locations across the country. Results of these initiatives include:
- Photovoltaic solar installations at 20 locations collectively prevent more than 5,000 tons of carbon from entering the environment, annually.
- LED lighting projects across many locations reduce carbon consumption by approximately 35,459 tons annually.
- Xeriscaping, rain harvesting, reclamation and replenishment projects save up to 74 million gallons of water annually.
- Thirty seven Manheim locations are diverting at least 50% of their waste away from landfills each year. Manheim Houston and Manheim Nevada diverting more than 80%. Manheim also recently launched a program to ensure that every auction location will divert at least 60% of their waste from landfills, with at least five locations attaining zero waste to landfill status this year.
“Protecting the environment is one of the most important ways we live out our company’s purpose — to build a better future for the next generation,” Manheim divisional vice president Alan Lang said in a news release. “We’re proud of the progress Manheim has made and will continue to find every way possible to operate sustainably and help our clients and partners do the same.”
Manheim and Cox have launched company-wide campaigns during Earth Month to encourage team members to take more sustainable actions at home and at work. The company has provided resources such as educational webinars with conservation tips and has implemented fun challenges to increase participation.
The new Cox Collective Impact Report is available, showing how Cox is making an impact in “the communities where we live and work.”