More than Just the Cars: Building a Better Dealership



NADA launches new Energy Ally program to help dealers complete ENERGY STAR survey

By: Lauren Bailey, National Automobile Dealers Association

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is always looking to help owners create a better business. What’s an easy way to do that? Find places to save money without compromising a quality experience for our customers. One place we have found huge potential is in increasing energy efficiency. In view of our longstanding partnership with the U.S. EPA, NADA has launched a new program to help new-car and -truck dealerships reduce their energy consumption through the agency’s ENERGY STAR certification program.

In many other sectors of the commercial buildings market, there are national data sets detailing how buildings use energy. These data enable EPA to develop 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR scores, which rank individual buildings relative to other similar buildings across the country. A score of 50 represents median energy performance, whereas a score of 75 means that a building is more energy efficient than 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. These scores provide building owners and managers with the critical information they need to assess performance, prioritize investments, and verify improvements over time.

Currently there is no national data set on how new car dealerships use energy. As a result, new car dealerships are not currently able to earn a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score on EPA’s online energy benchmarking tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. For this reason, NADA and EPA are encouraging dealerships to complete a brief survey, available at By completing a brief survey, we can help establish some guidelines to help dealerships cut energy costs and reduce emissions. The survey asks dealers to share their yearly utility bills, square footage—inside and out—and different types of equipment used at the dealership, among other questions.

We need to be sure the survey process is thorough, so before we can begin the ENERGY STAR certification process, we need to benchmark the energy usage of at least 500 dealerships. To encourage participation, NADA has launched a new program called Energy Ally, which is a way for outside organizations, such as accounting, consulting and energy management firms, to partner with dealers to get the survey completed. Any business that helps five or more dealerships complete the survey earns an NADA Energy Ally designation. You can apply here.

Dealers are already doing many great things to reduce their buildings’ energy use in communities across the country. One such dealer, Shelor Motor Mile in Christiansburg, VA, has made some simple and cost effective fixes, like installing ENERGY STAR certified CFLs and purchasing high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, that will save money and energy. After all, as Shelor Motor Mile’s Energy Manager John Jordan says, “The bottom line is: it’s about the bottom line. And if you save energy, you’re gonna save money.” Learn more about what Shelor Motor Mile is doing to improve energy efficiency by watching the video found here.

Lauren Bailey is an attorney with the National Automobile Dealers Association where she works on environmental and labor issues.  She received her law degree from the Catholic University of America and her undergraduate degree from the Pennsylvania State University.



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