Considering that auto dealerships use, on average, more energy per square foot than a typical office building (110kBTU – 93kBTU respectively), it’s important for dealers to explore all their energy efficiency options.
Fortunately, there are many cost‐effective opportunities that exist for significant reductions in energy usage. These opportunities focus on auto dealership‐ specific areas of energy use energy such as compressors, paint booths, lighting, HVAC, and certain other services, while still maintaining quality, safety, and customer comfort as top priorities.
- Periodically check belts for wear and tension
- Lubricate moving parts per manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations
- Frequently empty water separators
- Change air‐filters at manufacturer‐recommended intervals. Consult a compressor product and service provider to determine the most appropriate system size and energy efficiency for the facility.
- If your paint booth equipment is over 10 years old, consider upgrading. Significant improvements have been made to pump motors, lighting, and ducting fan motors.
Car Wash and Detailing Facilities:
- At a minimum, HID lighting such as metal halide lamps should be specified and, in many applications, T8 lamps will provide better energy efficiency.
- Where electricity is the only fuel available, consider heat pumps for water heating. By concentrating existing heat, heat pumps cost much less to operate than electric resistance heating and sometimes even gas heating units.
- Where gas is the primary water heating fuel, carefully evaluate boiler efficiencies, looking for a minimum 8% annual fuel use efficiency (AFUE).
- Maintain boilers regularly, checking for combustion efficiency and sediment.
- Specify NEMA premium motors and consider variable speed drives.
- Evaluate water reclamation systems as they can reduce water use by up to 60 percent.
- Check seals to minimize air infiltration. Replace missing cracked or hardened seals.
- For new doors, specify interior and exterior thermal breaks and R‐10 or greater.
- For new installations, specify automatic sensor‐driven bay door actuators to ensure that doors close immediately after vehicles or persons enter or exit. Newer high‐speed units safely close doors in a fraction of the time older units take.
- Educate employees on the energy efficiency value of keeping doors shut.
Specialty Task Lighting in Task Areas:
- Reduced energy consumption. Incandescent drag lights use 60 to 100 watts, fluorescent drag lights use 12 to 20 watts, and LED drag lights use five to eight watts.
- Increased safety. Incandescent and halogen drag lights can cause severe burns; fluorescent and LED drag lights will not.
- Improved Durability. Incandescent and halogen drag lights are prone to filament and lamp breakage. Quality fluorescent work lights are much more durable as they do not have a fragile filament and are usually surrounded by impact‐resistant plastic. LED lighting, which is solid state, is very resistant to impacts.