Green Dealer Support


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.



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”.



Pollution Prevention (P2)
May 31, 2013, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Going Green | Tags: , , , , ,

GDSPollution Prevention (P2)is defined as preventing or minimizing waste generation, or the environmentally sound reuse or recycling of those waste that cannot be prevented. Common examples of P2 include:

  • Replacing hazardous  organic solvents with non-toxic aqueous cleaners
  • Recycle metals, solvents, oils, cardboard, wood pallets and office paper
  • Replace standard motor, pumps and lighting with high efficiency versions
  • Stopping leaks, drips and spills and instituting preventive maintenance practices

RRRP2 can not only help to meet environmental goals, but also reduce waste, improve efficiencies and save money as well as reduce liability and hazardous exposures. P2 offers important economic, regulatory, environmental and social benefits that can often result in a more competitive business. Being “green” provides a competitive edge and opens up a new markets to others that share the same concerns.

What we find is that the resolution for one source of pollution is far different than another. A good starting place is to research one of the many P2 related websites to identify a local solution for a dealer’s particular issue. From these source documents you will find that a pollutions solution for dealing with pesticide issues is far different than dealing with the waste created by Styrofoam. Here are a couple of links that you might use as your initial source documents:

http://www.epa.gov/region5/waste/solidwaste/p2pages/toolbox.htm

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3585-17316–,00.html

In addition to finding a technical solution following a P2 plan is a way to insure success for the business we are working with. Here is a high level plan:

Step 1 Get management’s commitment and support
Step 2 Develop a company P2 policy statement
Step 3 Gain ongoing companywide commitment
Step 4 Establish a P2 team
Step 5 Select a P2 coordinator
Step 6 Establish reduction goals
Step 7 Establish priorities and procedures for conducting assessments
Step 8 Designate an assessment team
Step 9 Conduct a waste assessment
Step 10 Identify potential pollutions prevention opportunities
Step 11 Perform technical and economic analysis of potential P2 opportunities
Step 12 Develop an implementation plan
Step 13 Implement the selected projects
Step 14 Evaluate project results periodically and document results
Step 15 Create positive results and learn from failures
Step 16 Modify plan as needed and select the next steps

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Plastic Waste
February 28, 2013, 7:21 pm
Filed under: Going Green, Green Facts | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

header-logo2

As a country we are generating a lot of plastic that is either disposed of in landfills or recycled. Some recent statistics (2010) indicate that about 12 percent  of landfill space is used by some form of plastic. That number is growing very fast. Fifty years ago it was only 1 percent.

plastic Waste

Here how plastics are made:

Plastics fall into two basic categories; thermosets and thermoplastic.

Thermosets sets when heated and is used for durable items such as construction and automobile parts.

Thermoplastic softens when exposed to heat. It is used for products such as milk jugs, floor covering and carpet fibers.

Here are some interesting plastic waste statistics (2010):

  • Over 30 million tons of plastic were generated representing over 12 percent of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
  • Only 8 percent of the total plastic generated was recovered for recycling
  • About 7 million tons of plastic are non durable goods which includes plates and cups
  • About  11 million tons of plastic was durable which includes plastic in appliances, etc.

Plastic pollution is a problem because plastic takes so long to decompose. A website maintained by the Mid Michigan Waste Authority provides numerous links that explore all aspects of plastic pollution. Here is an excerpt from their website:

Quick Facts about Plastic Pollution

  • A plastic milk jug takes 1 million years to decompose.
  • A plastic cup can take 50 – 80 years to decompose.
  • Recycled plastic can be used to make things like trash cans, park benches, playground equipment, decks, and kayaks.
  • Special fleece-like fabrics used in clothes and blankets can be made out of recycled plastic bottles.
  • Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every HOUR.
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year.
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
  • A United States law, implementing an international agreement called MARPOL Annex V, became effective on December 31, 1988. It prohibits the disposal of plastics into the marine environment and requires ports to provide reception facilities for ship-generated plastic waste.
  • Today, Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste a year but recycle only 1 or 2 % of it.
  • An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, much of it plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.
  • The worldwide fishing industry dumps an estimated 150,000 tons of plastic into the ocean each year, including packaging, plastic nets, lines, and buoys.
  • About 1,200 plastic soft drink and salad dressing containers could carpet the average living room.
  • It takes 1,050 HDPE (#2) milk jugs to make a six-foot plastic lumber park bench.
  • Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
  • Nearly every piece of plastic EVER made still exists today.

You can go to their website for further plastic pollution information and action that you can take. Click here to go to their website:

Most plastics have a resin identification code as you would typically see on the bottom of plastic container. The resin number is usually inside a triangle which is frequently confused for the recycling symbol. It does not mean that the item can be collected for recycling. Here is a chart of the codes and what they mean:

Resin Identification Code

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Type of Resin Content

PET

HDPE

Vinyl

LDPE

PP

PS

OTHER

  • PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate
  • HDPE – High-density Polyethylene
  • LDPE – Low-density Polyethylene
  • PP – Polypropylene
  • PS – Polystyrene
  • Other – Mixed Plastics

resin-identification-symbols2120px-Recycling_symbol_svgNote the difference in these two recycle related logos. It is often confused that the resin identification guarantees that a plastic item is recycable but that is the farthest thing from the truth. The number is for sorting purposes.

There are about 2,000 companies in the US that handle or process post-consumer plastic. Recycling occurs either curbside or at drop-off points. Often this is included in full stream recycling and is mixed with other recyclable material such as paper. The recyclable material goes through a number of sorting and cleaning processes until it is finally ready for processing which includes grinding it into small flakes. After further processing it is formed into pellets and shipped to product manufacturing plants where they begin the cycle again as new plastic products.

Source reduction is about reducing the amount of waste that is generated. Here plastic plays an important role as plastic is generally more lightweight than its alternatives such as glass, paper, or metal. These lighter weight materials require less fuel to transport and result in less material in the waste stream.

Green Dealer Support works with dealers to identify items that are being added to the waste stream and may eventually end up in landfills.



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.



Energy Star Challenge
August 24, 2012, 11:57 am
Filed under: Going Green | Tags: , , , , , ,

Each year in the US, commercial buildings use about $200 billion worth of  electricity and natural gas. It is estimated that about 30% of that is wasted. It is also estimated that 1/3 of the wasted energy could be saved by making changes that do not cost anything. That means $20 billion worth of energy could be saved with a minimal cost.

The Energy Star Challenge is a program that designed to bring attention to these saving and others that can be accomplished with a relative low investment and with a high ROI. When energy is wasted a power plant somewhere burns fossil fuel to generate electricity and emits emissions into the environment unnecessarily.

Green Dealer Support uses The Energy Star Challenge as a tool to help dealers reduce energy cost and communicate their efforts and successes to employees, customers and the community. The challeng encourages participants to; 1) track energy usage, 2) plan for changes and improvements, 3) implement and measure those changes and 4) communicate the energy saving ideas to employees, customers and the community.

Getting set up on The Energy Star Challenge at a dealership is not difficult. The first step is to sign up for the challenge. This gets you listed but does not make you active. To be active you then must submit your story. Energy Star provides you an outline of possible information to include in your story. A typical story includes a few paragraphs that talk about the things you have done to reduce energy usage and possibly what your future plans are.



Energy Star Products
August 14, 2012, 9:01 am
Filed under: Going Green | Tags: , , , ,

Energy Star products were first introcuced in the mid 1990’s with a preference toward office products. Monitors and computers were the first labeled products. By the early 2000’s Home Electronics saw its start with the Energy Star label. Since then many additional items now carry the Energy Star label with over 60 product categories now covered. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.

Through its partnerships with private and public sector organizations, ENERGY STAR delivers the technical information and tools that organizations and consumers need to choose energy-efficient solutions and best management practices. One of thos Energy Star Services and Product Providers is Green Dealer Support. Their stated focus is to help Automobile Dealers become “greener”. Energy Star plays a signifiant role in helping them achieve that goal.

 Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, prevented 210 million metric tons of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions1 in 2011 alone— equivalent to the annual emissions from 41 million vehicles—and reduced their utility bills by $23 billion.

Energy Star puublished the following chart to show these saving:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 Some specific dealership used products that can be Energy Stat rated are:

Water heaters and Furnaces

 

Monitors

 

Copiers and Printers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These products and many more have an Energy Star rating. Click here to go to the Energy Star list of rated products. Energy efficiency should always be part of every purchasing practice/policy.



What Does Green Mean to You?
August 6, 2012, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Going Green | Tags: , , , ,

Let’s play word association – I say “green” and at least some dealers might say “climate change” and then something very nasty about Al Gore. Other dealers when they hear “green” in context to dealership operations think the following:

  • The need for energy independence
  • ROI – by lowering of ongoing dealership expenses
  • A marketing opportunity to differentiate your store from the competition 

There are also some additional practical reasons to check out the “green/sustainable” movement slowly taking place at many stores: 

Recruiting Gen Y: Most dealers struggle with recruiting a younger generation of employees; whether you feel they are right or wrong, they are very sensitive to the damage they feel has been done to their environment. Research says Gen Y’ers gravitate to work – and buy – from companies that have a track record of good environmental practices. For this generation that grew up with recycling and a true concern about the air they breathe, the “green” topic is not a debate, but a value. Ignoring or discounting the largest generation that will be buying your vehicles for as long as you’re a dealer is a perilous decision. 

Check Your Inventory: By the end of 2012 OEM’s will have 80 alternative energy vehicles available for sale (hybrids; electric; fuel cell).  Demand for fuel-efficient vehicles will also remain high as gas prices will invariably rise, government pressure to achieve higher CAFÉ standards will only continue,  and a crop of customers who demand high mileage vehicles due to their environmental beliefs will continue to grow. So, you’ll be selling “green”, but will you be acting “green”? 

Differentiating Your Dealership:  For those of you who have built or significantly remodeled a facility during the last three years,  you’ve added “sustainability factors” that you probably wouldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago. The decision to build a “greener” facility was probably a combination of expense reduction and good citizenship. The tough part, building a new facility, is done.  Now that you’ve made the investment in “green technologies”,  have you developed a marketing plan to further differentiate your store (s) from the competition?  This is particularly important with the advent of Internet shopping – allowing you to move beyond “commodity pricing” through differentiation.  Green Dealer Support provides the tools and help to customize communications that dealers can use to differentiate themselves by focusing on their “green” operations. Click here to learn more about what we do.




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