Green Dealer Support


Sustainability
August 31, 2014, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Going Green, Green Facts | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

GDS“Sustainability”

In more general terms, sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes.I think I first knew about that word in some form from my track coach when I was running cross country. He tried to impress on all of us that in order to do well we had to be able to “sustain” the pace. We needed to hold back a little as the race went on so that as we reach the point of only having 1,000 yards left to go we could we could really push it and pass all those other guys who had moved out in front of us earlier in the race.

It my business I find another version of this to be true, which is; that even when times are good, I need to resist going out and spending all the money in the bank, just because it is there. I need to be able to “sustain” the operation of the business for the long run. If I don’t have that long range plan I could find myself running out of steam (money) at the wrong time.

There is of course the definition of sustainability that relates to the environment. I know there is a lot of conversation about this. Many people would tell you that they believe that Global Warming and Climate Change are all part of the evolution of time and that we should not get too concerned about these thing. We have been seeing storms and droughts for years and that all seems to be just part of the way things change over time.

For me, I am concerned that people that live in Norfolk VA are seeing high tides cause more issues. I am also concerned that a group of scientist is warning that Climate Change is going to have a big impact on all of us. I guess time will tell how serious all that is. In the mean time, what is a person to do?

I think we can make it a little simpler and manageable by breaking it down into some smaller pieces. I am going to take a stab at that because it seem to me that when most people are looking at the entire issue of environmental sustainability they find it has almost has too many moving parts.

My approach is to look at three components with the idea that I can understand it I can, in my own way, have an impact on all three. The three pieces I personally can work on are:

  1. Energy
  2. Water
  3. Waste

A lot of the use of resources such as Energy and Water is based on population growth as well as how well we live. In 1927 we reached a world population of 2,000,000,000 people. By 1974 we had  doubled that to 4 billion and it is estimated that by 2026 we will double that again to 8 billion. All those people use up a lot of energy and water and create a lot of waste going into landfills. And from 1927 until now most of us are each using a lot more resources.

Energy:

Here is what I see going on with energy. The scientist tell us that for some time we are using energy faster that what we are producing it. The numbers are huge as to how much faster we are using energy that we are making it. The fact is, however, we have a big stockpile to draw from. But, we also have the issue that we are using it faster all the time. The debate seems to be how soon will we run out. If we keep doing this, sooner or later we will run out.

We use energy in many ways, but to keep it simple and look at myself (which may not be the same for everyone), I have a few big uses of energy that I personally could change. One is electricity/natural gas and the other is gasoline. I know I can have some impact on the use of both of them without too much change in my life style.

On the electricity/natural gas one, am already going down the road of replacing in-efficient light bulbs with CFL bulbs or LED. Was it a big deal? At the time it seems like it was. Those incandescent bulbs are really cheap to buy while the CFL’s were a lot more expensive and the LED’s are terrible. However, when you put a pencil to it the LED’s really make a lot of sense. I just had to change my outlook to longer term. My home is heated with Geothermal. It certainly cost more at the outset but again when I look at the long term it was easy to see the cost was much lower.

And then there is the gasoline issue. The car I use for business get almost 30 mile to the gallon, so I feel I am pretty good about that. Last week when I was in California and was going to be spending a week in the car with about 1,500 mile to drive so I had some decisions to make. As I was walking down the National Car Rental row of cars I had some basic considerations in mind. I needed a car that would be comfortable for all those miles and I needed a car with XM Radio and on by the way, it needed to have decent fuel economy. I got all three things I wanted and to my surprise got about 40 miles to the gallon overall.  When my gasoline cost was about 40% less than I normally experienced it was a good reminder to be sure next time to have fuel economy a little higher on the list of requirements. We will all all eventually be driving cars with better fuel economy, like it or not, as we move toward an average fleet of over 50 miles to the gallon.

Water:

water

Being from the Midwest where we have enough water (at least this year) it is sometimes hard to worry too much about any shortage of water. That is until you get to California. Here I saw lot of evidence of how much trouble we are already in for water. I saw lake Shasta where the water level is down about 75 feet. It is that water that irrigates those fruits and vegetables we all love so much. The dryness also had thousand of acres burning out of control in Northern California.

I am not sure how much of this we control but when on the same trip I saw lawns being over watered with runoff going down the gutter, it makes you wonder what it will take to get serious about how we protect our water supply whether it is in California or in Michigan. The fact is we all could be doing things to reduce water usage where ever we are.

It still all can get down to money. Even in the Midwest, water is about a penny per gallon. That does not sound like much until you see the number of gallons that are used by all the people every day with little regard as to how we can reduce usage. Often if is more a matter of how we use it and does not even require measures such as low flow faucets.

Waste:

Landfill

This is a big issue for a lot of reasons.

First every time we throw something in the trash and it goes to the landfill there is some chance that we made a bad decision when we acquired it and thus too quickly it became trash. If you want to look at it strictly on dollars out of you pocket, think about what never should have been acquired in the first place. Also think about it along the lines of, could someone else use this or could it be recycled.

Here a a couple of examples:

  1. Plastic bags
  2. Plastic water bottles

It seems that every store is happy to package your purchase in plastic bags. Whether it is the grocery store or the home supplies store, we always seem to have a lot of those plastic bags coming home with us. They do not cost a lot but they sure are a mess to deal with. Most of them end up in the landfill and they stay there forever and ever. At the landfill they add up to a huge amount of space. The alternative is to use those reusable bags we all have accumulated and probably already have in the trunks of our cars.

Those water bottles are a similar problem but here there is a cost you bear that doesn’t have to happen. With drinking water costing about a penny per gallon out of the faucet and bottled water cost a buck the decision is easy.

While I do not have all the answers for being a totally environmentally sustainable world, I have just shown that from my person experience we could all be doing a little bit every day to help. Multiply that times 8,000,000,000 and it starts to get to be a big number.

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Energy Efficiency Is About The Whole Package

GREEN-DEALER-SUPPORT-A (Custom) (3)When businesses consider doing a lighting upgrade they often think in the terms of changing to more efficient bulbs like LED or a more efficient HVAC system that is 95% efficient. These are good things to do but are only a part of the package and should not be considered alone. For example, to change from Metal Halide lamps to LED might reduce energy consumption by 50-75% but that is only part of the saving. If controls are also updated the saving can be much commercial_lighting_14higher and is often up to 85%. For lighting, these controls include photo sensors, motion detectors and rotating the timing as to when lights are on. Often they are incorporated in a complete energy management system.

What happens here is an added consideration when replacing lights or making many other investments especially in energy related devices.

 



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”.



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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