Green Dealer Support


Why Go Green?
July 31, 2014, 10:35 pm
Filed under: About the Company, Going Green, How We Work | Tags: , , , , ,

header-logo2The world is growing by leaps and bounds as measured by the world population. In 1922 there were 2 billion people in the world. By 2000 there were 6 billion and by 2050 it is projected there will be 9 billion. With this growth the worlds natural resources will be much less available than they were just a few years ago. By 2050 there will only be 25% of the resources available per capita that people in 1950 had. For our children and grandchildren we save for college educations, health emergencies and weddings, but what about saving so that there will be enough clean air, water, fuel and soil for the future.

Some of the greatest threats to these resources are the things we throw away. When we send things to the landfill we risk damage to the environment as well as taking up a lot of space that is needed for our future growing population as well as the lifestyle we would like to maintain. As landfills are used up every person has to pay in some way to acquire additional space to put stuff.

Here are a couple of interesting facts:

  • One quart of oil will pollute one million gallons of water
  • For every ton of paper that is recycled, we save 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil and enough electricity to power an average house for six months
  • A  typical TV will run for six hours on the amount of electricity that is saved  by recycling one aluminum can
  • By recycling just one glass bottle you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours

This is just one area that impacts our future environment. Add to that how we use energy water and clean air and this whole “green” thing becomes a big deal and it does impact everyone of us.

I am often asked the question of how can one person have any effect on a problem that is this big. That is exactly the point which is that with everyone doing just a little bit it makes a world of difference. A few examples of those little things each of us can do are:

  • Make sure you turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Change to energy efficient light bulbs as son as possible
  • Set the thermostat back a couple of degree both for cooling and heating
  • Seal leaks around doors and windows
  • Switch to low flow faucets
  • Use native plantings and limit irrigation to time it is only critical
  • Fix dripping faucets
  • Recycle everything you can
  • Buy items that have recycle content
  • Compost

People that do some or all of these thing will find they have reduce energy bills, lower water consumption and are sending less waste to landfills. All this results in lower utility bills in addition to the positive impact on the environment.

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What Gets Measured, Gets…..
May 31, 2014, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Going Green, Green Facts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

GREEN-DEALER-SUPPORT-A (Custom) (3)The adage of “What Get Measured, Gets Done” has been around for a long time but for the purpose of this blog I am using “What Gets Measured, Get Managed”. It is more that semantics.

MEASUREMENT.inddWhen we make the case for Going Green it is all about measuring performance in many areas that compose the environmental picture of a businesses operation. Big businesses today are almost always focused on sustainability measurements. This same level of interest is become of greater concern to medium and small businesses. Some Car Dealer are beginning to show an interest in how they act is effecting the environment. They are realizing that when they reduce carbon emissions and cut down on the use of precious natural resources it saves them money in the long term. How they measure that performance, however, is becoming a new experience.

Car dealers are no strangers to using measures to determine their business progresses, albeit in a somewhat different form. Car dealers have always used the comparisons of how are we doing this month compared to last month or as compared to the same month last year. These measurements are usually in the area of sales of vehicles, service and parts. Car dealers are also very active in establishing targets and goals in these familiar areas.

Measuring and using the results to manage for improvement follows the same approach for environmental issues as tracking the sale of new vehicles. That is compare how you are doing this month compared to last month and compare how you are doing compared to last year.

With only a few of these dealers measure performance in environmental issues many dealers are missing a large opportunity. The opportunity is in the reduction of expenses. After all, reducing expenses has the same effect on the bottom line as the increase in sales. So why don’t dealers focus more on this the area of reducing operating expenses, especially in the area of environmentally related functions? Dealers tell us 1), it is hard and 2), they do not know where to begin. In this blog we intend to answer both of those issues.

First on where to get started; the goal here is to keep it simple. Apply the KISS (Keep it Simple and Straightforward) approach. Some businesses try to set up measurement systems in a broad scope of areas. That is OK for a long range approach but to get started keep the scope narrow and only those few area that are easy to measure. Dealers should begin with only a couple of areas and it is easy to do. The areas to focus on are:

  • Energy – This includes electricity and gas (if used)
  • Water

This limited number of areas narrows the scope and keeps measuring focused and easy to do.

How to get started. Just take a years worth of data (actually it is best to start with 13 month) and enter key information into some sort of a spreadsheet like Excel. So for electricity you would gather the last 13 month of bills and for each meter enter kWh, cost and end date of the bill. For natural gas (or other types of fuel used to heat) follow a similar process except the energy type will be different such as ccf’s and then the cost and date. The same for water.  You now have measurements for key areas of expense that are manageable and can be used as a tool to determine where your expenses are going.



Will the Grid Go Away?
February 28, 2014, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Going Green, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

GREEN-DEALER-SUPPORT-A (Medium)For years, low-cost renewable-plus-battery systems were seen as a unlikely and not a threat to mainstream electricity delivery any time soon. By far, the limiting factor has been battery costs.

But thanks to a confluence of factors playing out across the energy industry, the reality is that affordable battery storage is coming much sooner than most people battery3realize. That approaching day of cheaper battery storage, when combined with many forms of renewable energy, has the potential to fundamentally alter the use of the grid.

While grid-tied solar has seen dramatic recent cost declines, until recently, solar-plus-battery systems have not been considered economically viable. However, concurrent declining costs of batteries, growing maturity of solar-plus-battery systems and increasing adoption rates for these technologies are changing that. Recent media coverage, market analysis and industry discussions have gone so far as to suggest that low-cost solar-plus-battery systems one day could enable customers to cut the cord with their utility and go from grid connected to grid defected.

But while people have been talking about renewable energy plus battery systems as a potential option at some point in the distant future, there has been a scarcity of detailed analysis to quantify when and where.

renewableThere are several possible scenarios: a more conservative base case plus more aggressive cases that consider technology improvements with accelerated cost declines, investments in energy efficiency coupled with load management and the combination of technology-driven cost declines, energy efficiency and load management. Even the base case results are compelling, but the combined improvements scenario is especially so, because efficiency and load management reduce the required size of the system while technology improvements reduce the cost of that system, compounding cost declines and greatly accelerating grid parity.

Solar-plus-battery grid parity is here already or coming soon for a rapidly growing minority of utility customers. Grid parity exists today in Hawaii for commercial customers, and rapidly will expand to reach residential customers as early as 2022. Grid parity will reach millions of additional residential and commercial customers in places such as New York and California within a decade.      •

Even before total grid defection becomes widely economic, utilities will see solar-plus-battery systems eat into their revenues. Factors such as customer desires for increased power reliability and low-carbon electricity generation are driving early adopters ahead of grid parity, including those installing smaller grid-dependent solar-plus-battery systems to help reduce demand charges, provide backup power and yield other benefits. These early activities likely will accelerate the infamous utility death spiral — self-reinforcing upward price pressures, which make further self-generation or total defection economic faster. The “old” cost recovery model, based on kWh sales, by which utilities recover costs and an allowed market return on infrastructure investments, will become obsolete. Utilities must re-think their current business model in order to retain customers and to capture the additional value that such distributed investments will bring.

The results are profound, especially in geographies such as the U.S. Southwest. In this region of the country, the conservative base case shows solar-plus-battery systems undercutting utility retail electricity prices for the most expensive one-fifth of load served in 2024; under the more aggressive assumptions, off-grid systems prove cheaper than all utility-sold electricity in the region just a decade out from today.

Millions of customers representing billions of dollars in utility revenues will find themselves in a position to cost-effectively defect from the grid if they so choose. The so-called utility death spiral is proving not just a hypothetical threat, but a real, near and present one. The coming grid parity of solar-plus-battery systems in the foreseeable future, among other factors, signals the eventual demise of legacy utility business models.

Although utilities could and should see this as a threat, they also can see solar-plus-battery systems as an opportunity to add value to the grid and their business models. The United States’ electric grid is on the cusp of a great transformation, and the future of the grid need not be an either/or between central and distributed generation. It can and should be a network that combines the best of both.

Having determined when and where grid parity will happen, the important next question is how utilities, regulators, technology providers and customers might work together to reshape the market — either within existing regulatory frameworks or under an evolved regulatory landscape — to tap into and maximize new sources of value that build the best electricity system of the future the delivers value and affordability to customers and society. These disruptive opportunities are the subject of ongoing work by the authors, covered in a forthcoming report to follow soon.



Green Initiatives have a Positive Impact on Profits!
January 9, 2014, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

ImageGreen initiatives within dealership operations are becoming a way of life for many dealerships. New car dealers are already well on their way to Going Green, but may not have ever thought of these activities as being Eco-Friendly. Some actions that are being taken reduce Energy usage by over 50%. Some actions that are being taken reduce Water usage by over 40%. Some actions that are being taken reduce Waste to Landfill by over 60%. What should a dealer do to accelerate the process at their store?

Answer: Make a commitment to take action to Go Green, just do it. Then take one action at a time and move forward doing something about it.

The best step is for management to make a commitment that this is something that we are going to do and then begin to gather the support of others in each department finding those individuals who are naturally inclined to support being Eco-Friendly. Everyone in the dealership is not going to be so inclined to be advocates of environmental sustainability efforts, but many are and their involvement will encourage others along with internal communications that become a part of operations on a regular basis.

One thing to do to get it started is to determine what the current status is. This can be as simple as two lists:

  1. Green Things We are Already Doing
  2. Green Opportunities

Don’t be too concerned if it is 100% complete. This is a work in progress item. You will find that the list tends to include components such as:

  • Reduce Energy Usage
  • Reduce Water Usage
  • Reduce Waste to Landfill.

Most dealerships like to tackle the Green Initiatives that have the greatest ROI which generally will be reducing Energy usage. Energy usage has many forms including electricity and fuels such as natural gas. The good news is that most of the Energy saving projects have a good payback and in a lot of cases are reduced in cost through incentives and tax advantages. Operating cost reductions frequently pay for the investments in the short term and results in improved cash flow in the long term resulting in improved profits.

Lighting tends to be the biggest energy consumer and takes many forms both inside and outside the building. Technology has moved fast in the lighting area and almost all facilities have opportunities to improve the quality of lighting and reduce the operations cost.

How do you figure it all out? Of course, you need to rely on the experts in this field. They should have all the skills necessary to determine what is best for you particular situation and be sure you are able to take advantage of all of the incentives and benefits. As always, get more than one opinion (proposal) and work with reliable suppliers. Most important is to be an educated buyer. Use the tools that are available to educate yourself and come up with your own set of numbers so you can check out what the vendors say.

These and many more practical ideas will be presented at the NADA Workshop:

Improve Cash Flow and Profits with Green Initiatives

Panel members:

Chuck Golden, Green Dealer Support

Scott Ringlein, The Energy Alliance Group of North America

Andrew Lindstrom, Cree Lighting

Ryan Rodau, GE Lighting

You can attend the NADA Workshop on:

Improve Cash Flow and Profit with Green Initiatives

Friday            1/24/2014   2:00 pm – 3:15pm             Room 220-222

Sunday          1/26/2014   10:30am – 11:45am          Room 228-230

Sunday          1/26/2014   3:30pm – 4:45pm              Room 211-213



Zero Landfill-What Does it Mean?
September 30, 2013, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Going Green, Green Facts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

GDS

In the US industrial facilities send 7.6 billion tons of nonhazardous waste to landfills. This according to the EPA is can be reduced through industry efforts to become Landfill-Free efforts. Going Landfill-Free requires investment and a long-term view. Upfront cost generally decrease in time, with revenue generated from recycling helping to offset the investment.

LandfillIs it worth trying to operate as being Zero Landfill and how do I go about it. These are questions are worthy of some additional study and research.

What is Zero-Landfill – The definition is the ability to avoid diverting any excess material resources in a landfill or other non-reclamation waste center. What this means is no two companies will have the same definition of but it does mean that companies will have the same theme.

Evaluating the opportunity:

  • Begin with an assessment of what is currently in your dumpster or other landfill stream. This means doing what some call a “Dumpster Dive”. To do this you need to go to your almost full dumpster and clean everything out to see what you have. The end result is several piles of material segregated by type or large category.
  • As you and your team sort through the trash and get it into different piles you generally will end up with about four initial groups of; Metals, Papers, Plastics, and Other
  • Then sort down each category to find the subsets and divide by recyclable and non-recyclable. A good example of sorting plastic is this chart that was provided by Western Michigan University:

Grouping

By identifying the top contributors of landfill from the category of plastic better decisions can be made as to how the issue should be addressed. It would be appropriate to measure the volume or weight of the materials in each category. A great video by a company called Burt’s Bees show how this process can work. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HsUlAS0kY8

While all companies may not eliminate some things going to the landfill some companies do make that a reality. Here is another video that talks to that companies success. The team effort displayed in both of these videos is an important consideration. Here is that link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLk01JfBlx8

One of the success factors seems to be the involvement of people throughout the organization including management. We find that this is a never ending project and that the team needs to constantly be looking for additional ways to make mahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLk01JfBlx8

This activity is definitely a team activity and need to include everyone from the top down. The cost saving can be significant. The marketing impact can be even more powerful.



Manufacturer Green Dealer Programs
June 30, 2013, 8:12 am
Filed under: Going Green, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

GREEN-DEALER-SUPPORT-A (Custom) (3)We are hearing more every day about OEM’s and their Green Dealer Recognition Programs. We are pleased to see that several OEM’s have some sort of program in place and others are considering a program. This is a new area for OEM’s to enter and supplements the sustainability activity that is occurring at their plants and offices. Also, considering the number of vehicles being produced that the customer would consider “green” a dealer program helps to align the environmental interest of the  customer, the OEM and now the dealer.

logo_subaruThe most significant program was introduced by Subaru in 2012 and is available to all their dealers. Subaru of America (SOA) is encouraging all of their 620+ dealers to have their “green” performance evaluated and for those that reach a high level of performance they recognize the dealership in a variety of ways. The program that Subaru has launched is much more than just recognition of their dealers but rather is a comprehensive effort to measure performance, tweak green activities and assist the dealership team to move to greater levels of sustainability by identify eco-friendly opportunities and promote continued efforts to move forward.

We are aware of a few other OEM’s who have announced dealer recognition programs in the environmental area:

Honda Enviromenta LeadershipHonda/Acura has recognized several dealers for their environmental achievements in line with their  Enviromental Leadership Program requirements. The dealers are recognized when they voluntarily reduced their energy use by 10% or more, developed water-conservation measures and implemented a recycling program. Honda has recognized 13 dealers and Acura 4. Their program has three level of awards (Silver, Gold and Platinum) with Platinum being reserved for LEED certified dealership.

chryslerChrysler has recognized 30 of it’s dealers for their environmental achievement through their Dealer Environmental Conscious Operations (ECO) program. The new program provides Chrysler Group dealers with the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to ECO business practices and to be recognized for their efforts.

ToyotaToyota/Lexus has taken an approach to help their dealers receive a high level of environmental attention by providing them with support and resources that encourage and help them achieve LEED certification especially when constructing new facilities. By providing this support they now have several dealers that are LEED certified. This addresses several eco-friendly requirements and carries with it a recognized certification program. In the U.S. and Canada, there are 26 Toyota and Lexus dealerships with LEED certification. Toyota dealerships in the U.S. have a combined 1.4 million square feet of LEED-certified building space.

The vision is that within the next two years all OEM’s will have some dealer tie in with their own sustainability efforts to align the OEM’s product, operations and the dealers all into one seamless activity. Just as there are differences today we anticipate that different programs will exist for each of the OEM’s. What is important is that every program be designed as a continuous improvement effort because it is not a goal that once reached requires no further effort. Rather it is a on going effort to always reach the next highest level of being eco-friendly. Doing what is right for today and future generations.

An opportunity for car dealers to be recognized by an outside organization while waiting for their OEM to launch a program or to supplement the recognition that is already in place are the numerous local activities by cities, counties, etc. For example

With almost every area having their own local award it is another opportunity to add to your green wall and demonstrate to the community that your dealership is doing things that are above the norm.

GREEN-DEALER-SUPPORT-A (Custom) (3)Green Dealer Support has put themselves in the position of being the only company that works exclusively with car dealers to help them become “green: or “greener”.  We have been selected by one OEM to evaluate and consult with their dealers. Other OEM’s are in the discussion stages to develop programs that fully recognize and encourage their dealers sustainability efforts. The www.greendealersupport.com website provides ideas and resources that help car dealers become “greener”.



Can You Recycle It?
October 8, 2012, 9:12 am
Filed under: About the Company, Going Green | Tags: , , , , , ,

Most everyone I know talks about that they believe in recycling both at work and in their personal lives. It is a good thing to do and we see and hear lots of things about  the harm to the environment by not recycling everything we can. So why isn’t everyone doing it?

Personally, I tend to justify my less than 100% engagement of recycling by rationalizing that it does not always make sense. We believe it cost too much, it would create more pollution than it would avoid, etc., etc.  Where we live and where my office is located we do not have curbside pickup of recyclable  items. So how can we recycle and do what is right for the environment and future generations? What could I do so that I would not be saying it is right for everyone else but not for me?

I think you have to begin with the end in mind; that being a plan that you want to do everything you can to reduce the amount of things going to the landfill. With that being the ultimate goal then start considering what is going to the landfill today and determine is there any practical way to reduce that.

Every location has its own set of rules for what can be recycled and how it gets recycled. In order to be an effective recycler you will have to know what can be recycled from your location. When that is determined you are already part way there. Determine how to capture items that can be recycled and getting them into that system. But what about the items that are more difficult to recycle. Just because it is not easy does not mean it can’t be done. A great website to use in determining where and how to recycle a particular item is www.earth911.com

Next do not bite off too much at one time. Start with one item or at least one category and do the research as to how that item can be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. Once you figure one out and put processes in place to handle that one move on to the next. Often when you figure out what to do with one item several others can be addressed in a similar way. Just keep working  on this with the idea of “how can we reduce the amount going to the landfill”?

Different than recycling is reducing but it may be an even better way to reducing landfill. Our office had ended up with a large number of  magazines coming in each week. We had subscribed to lots of printed material much of which was a free subscription. This was creating clutter in the office and using up of storage space just in case there was any great article that we want to have on file. Then when we finally became overwhelmed we would throw it all away in big bunches. To improve on this we did an inventory of every magazine we were receiving and put them into three groups:

  • Really want a hard copy for the shelf
  • Wanted material but could receive it electronically
  • It would be worth stopping the subscription, at least for a test

We found that the “wanted a hard copy only needed to be about 25% of what we were receiving. This really works and it is more than just having less to go to the landfill, the clutter reduction is the best thing we ever did.

Whether for business or at home the process of ramping up your recycle activity should be very similar and that is to take it a few items at a time. However, having said that you still need to begin with the end in mind.

As the volume of material going to the landfill is reduced work with you trash hauler to reduce the cost. Can the pickup be once per week instead of twice? Can we use a 6 yard dumpster instead of an 8 yard. A great measure of that is to look at the dumpster just before it is picked up. Is it half full or even less?

If a dealership is looking for recycling solutions look at our website at http://www.greendealersupport.com/ or contact us by clicking here.




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