In the early 20th century, cars finally became more readily available for the average consumer. In fact, customers could purchase them through various channels including, straight from the manufacturer, mail order, and department stores. It wasn’t until 1948 that the first car dealership was established. This new way of selling cars created a shift in the industry, forcing vehicle sales to follow a particular standard of franchise regulations and rules. For example, automakers were eventually limited or prevented from selling cars directly to customers.
Today, licensed and independently owned car dealerships are pretty much the only place for customers to purchase the vehicle of their dreams. And as you can imagine — these dealerships need electricity to operate.
Cars Sold in 2016 (YTD): 3,644,556
Light Duty Trucks sold in 2016 (YTD): 5,000,364
SUV Cross Over’s Sold in 2016 (YTD): 3,180,707
SUV’s Sold in 2016 (YTD): 865,712
Cross Over’s Sold in 2016 (YTD): 2,314,995
Total Revenue for 2015: $862 Billion
Average Employee Per Dealership: 67
Repair Orders: 2 million
Service and Part Sales: $97 Billion
Total Number of Car Dealerships in U.S.: 17,540
Car Dealerships and Energy
On average, auto dealerships (110kBTU) consume more energy than a typical office building (93kBTU). The reason for this is because of the different systems in place to ensure the safety of the vehicles, staff and customers. Many dealerships also have auto repair shops in addition to the main show room and office area. Some of the equipment or systems commonly found within these types of buildings include, paint booths, compressors, HVAC and lighting.
Car dealerships that profile their energy consumption benefit from conducting an energy profile analysis. This will help to determine areas of the business that require changes or improvements.
Car Dealership Energy Saving Tips
Just like homes, offices and other industrial buildings, car dealerships can do many things to improve their energy consumption. Energy Star, one of the largest energy efficiency agencies in the nation, and the U.S. Small Business Administration supply a significant amount of information to help support these kinds of business improvements. Both organizations place car dealership under the small business category, and so many of these tips can apply to that class of business as well.
Paint Booths: This equipment is used to repair damage done to the paint, or in some cases to complete a custom job for a vehicle. Energy is required to power this equipment because it requires a lot of air and pressure to spray the paint. Ventilation systems are also mandatory for paint booths due to the vapors and other matter that could potentially harm employees. To keep things energy efficient, it’s a good idea to check equipment for airflow capacity, control options and bulb quality (for lighting).
Compressors: There are several different types of compressors that car dealerships can install. It is important to note that different types of compressors consume energy at different rates. This is why it’s important to investigate different options.
Centrifugal Compressors are used in bigger car dealership auto repair shops. This type of compressor generates large amounts of air at low pressure. When run at 80% or greater peak capacity during the work day, they require minimal maintenance and score high in energy efficiency.
Scroll Compressors generate greater volume and pressure compared to other designs. This type of compressor uses a spinning scroll in order to work effectively.
Reciprocating Compressors need moderate maintenance but are quite simple to rebuild or fix. The reason for this is because it is common for heat and condensation to build up within the device. This compressor uses a piston to generate pressure within a tank.
For businesses like car dealerships that have a lot of equipment, it is important to regularity check the status of a compressor to ensure that it is in good working condition. Things to check include,
- Water separators are emptied (frequently)
- Wear and tension on belts
- Moving parts are well lubricated
- Changing air filters
Bay Doors: Many car dealerships have large doors that open and close to allow the entry and exit of vehicles. Keeping these doors closed when not in use is a critical part to maintaining energy efficiency within the facility.
Lighting: Light is a very important element to any business. Without light, employees cannot perform their daily operations. There are many different options for lighting within car dealership buildings including, fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting, high-intensity discharge lighting systems, and daylighting.
Other Equipment: Most car dealerships include offices for employees, equipped with computers and lighting, as well as other appliances such as dishwashers or refrigerators. To save energy, turning off lights, office equipment and other appliances when not in use, helps to reduce consumption.
National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Energy Stewardship Initiative
Car dealerships that are NADA members have the option to participate in the Energy Stewardship Initiative. Run in partnership with Energy Star, the 4-step program encourages car dealerships to reduce their energy consumption by a minimum of 10% in order to reduce their impact on the environment and also save in energy costs. For companies who participate in the program, they receive recognition from both Energy Star and NADA, which can have a significant impact on consumers who are looking to purchase a vehicle(s).
If every car dealership across America reduced their energy consumption by only 10%, they would save a combined total of about $193 million.