Automotive Dealerships June 22, 2015

Interior and Exterior Energy Solutions for Your Automotive Dealership: Part One

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For Utilities Dynamics, we are true believers in Occam’s razor, that the simplest solution is often the correct one. In this scenario, the correct one is that which saves you the most money while also meeting your lighting needs.

Today’s blog entry, one of two in a series about interior and exterior energy solutions for automotive dealerships, goes over some simple solutions to apply to your current automotive dealership and a few more heavy-duty considerations to consider when looking to streamline your next utility bill.

Simple Energy Savings in Simple Places

Turn lights and equipment off when not in use. It seems like a no-brainer, but when we scout a project we find a surprising amount of business owners, or production-focused managers, will simply let equipment idle or leave lights on and factor that cost into their overhead. To them, it’s better to leave the equipment running and not waste time letting it “warm up”.

Assuming average electricity costs of $.10/kWh, every 1,000 kilowatt hours saved amounts to $100 in savings. Real-dollar amounts like this can be achieved as easily as flipping a switch—literally.

Educating your employees and instituting policies that are based around achieving these numbers should be a priority to any automotive dealership. Something as simple as having signs posted on doors can be the reminder employees need to be more energy-conscious.

Optimize your HVAC system.  Installing a programmable thermostat that allows for pre-programmable setback after hours (like nights and weekends when no one is in) well help you achieve real savings. Regularly cleaning and changing the air filters in your HVAC units will help minimize lost efficiency.

A route often overlooked by automotive dealerships is signing on for an annual maintenance contract. Aside from well-documented tune-ups and repairs they can include cleaning, checking, and lubricating HVAC economizers. If an economizer is malfunctioning it can add upwards to 50% to your annual utility costs.

Look for Energy Star labels on products. Equipment with the energy star stamp of approval abides by more rigorous standards than other products without it. For more information on what the energy star stamp entails, visit their website here.

Bigger Problems – Custom Energy Solutions

Daylighting can be a big propagator of savings while providing attractive illumination for your featured automobiles in your showroom. Natural light that supplements your interior lighting can help reduce your cost by as much as one-third or more.

A big concern with daylighting is increasing glare and solar gain (the term for referring to an increase in temperature within a given space due to exposure to sunlight). Low-emissivity windows with a clear or moderate tint help with both concerns, as well as use of proper shading techniques.

Not everything can or should be fixed with a simple solution. Utilities Dynamics specializes in finding these bigger problems and assessing their value to your long-term plan.

Lighting controls such as occupancy sensors add savings to interior areas not open to the public like offices, conference rooms, and storage areas/rooms. Controls with built-in photocells dim and brighten lights in response to natural light. These types of solutions prove vital in producing measurable results in energy conservation, both in exterior and interior lighting applications.

Interior lighting solutions like retrofitting older, antiquated technology with new LED solutions can reduce energy consumption dramatically—by up to 35 percent.

Recent advances in LED technology have made it the most viable solution both financially and photometrically. Using a point-by-point analysis to figure out optimal placement of your new fixtures is absolutely essential to gaining the most out of an LED solution. Where most engineering firms are happy to do a one-for-one replacement job on your car lot, they fail to take into account what the lighting levels will look like once they’re finished replacing your fixtures.

This is a dangerous path to walk down, because even though your utility bill will be reduced you will not see a visible improvement in your lighting levels. Utilities Dynamics can do this critical point-by-point analysis and not only save you money, but make your lot look better than ever so you can sell more cars.

In our next entry, we’ll think outside the box with an entry going in more detail about some exterior solutions Utilities Dynamics likes to employ! In the meantime, download our FREE guide to the science of photometry and see how you can apply it to your business!