Green Dealer Program Nears 500 Participants
American Honda launched a ‘Green Dealer’ program in 2012 to help independently owned and operated Honda and Acura automobile dealers in the U.S. reduce their environmental impact. In 2014, the program was extended to motorcycle and power equipment dealers. The program recognizes dealers who implement recommended sustainable practices with three award levels – Silver, Gold and Platinum.
The award criteria are based on a verified reduction in energy use and a rigorous point system that incorporates environmental improvement measures. Professional engineers evaluate dealerships’ environmental performance and recommend strategies for reducing their environmental impact.
“Innovation is at the heart of our brand and that includes environmental innovation,” said Raminta Jautokas, environmental manager, American Honda. “Our focus is CO2 reduction and we honed in on energy efficiency with our dealers to help. The greatest things that has happened is that we have been able to find little things and easy things that dealers can use to make nice gains in these areas.”
As of the end of October 2016, 468 U.S. Honda and Acura dealers across all product lines were enrolled in the program and 118 received an award. Improvement made at these dealerships resulted in a total annual reduction of 12,500 tons of CO2. cumulative annual operating cost reductions of over $2,500,000.
“I have been very surprised that more dealers aren’t doing it. Sure, it helps our bottom line, but more importantly it helps society as a whole,” said Jeff Brandon, owner of Brandfon Honda, which is one of two Honda dealers in the U.S. to achieve electric-grid neutral status. “If you put pen and paper to it, it makes total sense to incorporate this into your dealership.”
To establish Honda’s leadership in dealership sustainability, the 93-page Honda ‘Green Dealer’ Guide was created. This guide synthesizes three years of program development, providing a blueprint for reducing both operating costs and energy use in auto dealerships. To benefit society, the Honda ‘Green Dealer’ Guide was released to the public as well, intended to help dealers across all brands and commercial buildings with similar energy needs. The guide will be updated as necessary to reflect new technology advancements.
Honda and Acura dealers who received the Environmental Leadership Award implemented numerous environmental best practices such as:
- Replacing lighting with LEDs;
- Installing motion sensors that turn lights off when not in use;
- Replacing older air conditioning and heating systems with more energy-efficient equipment;
- Setting or programming thermostats at optimal temperatures;
- Installing solar panels; and
- Adding rainwater collection systems, and planting native vegetation to reduce irrigation water use.
“The “Green Dealer” Program is a triple win,” said Honda Environmental Business Development Office Vice-President Steven Center. “The environment wins when environmental impact is reduced, our customers win by knowing they bought their vehicle from a “Green Dealer,” and dealers win by saving money on their energy bills.”