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One Size Doesn't Fit All: Energy Efficiency for Small Businesses – Part 3

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Energy Efficiency for Small Businesses – Automotive Dealerships – Part 3 of an 8 Week Series

At Lime Energy, we help utilities around the country bring energy efficiency to their small business customers. With over 15,000 completed projects to date, we have learned a lot about the unique needs of small business customers. Over an 8 week period, we are taking a look at several small business types and uncovering their potential for energy savings. In many cases, these businesses are eligible for incentives from their utility to cover a large portion of the project cost, making the long-term benefits of energy efficiency even more attainable.

Automotive Dealerships:

Car dealerships have unique demands when it comes to energy consumption. An average car dealership uses 18% more energy per square foot than a typical office building due to several factors:

  • Open 60 hours or more per week
  • Large, lighted parking lots
  • Bright lights and cool temperatures needed in multiple areas
  • Expansive glass and window areas
  • Volume of foot traffic in and out
  • Extended use of shop and office equipment

These factors create a high potential for wasted energy due to inefficient lighting and mechanical systems, heat loss and high energy use of mechanical equipment. In fact, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) reports that energy is the third highest operating expense for dealerships and that an industry-wide 10% reduction in energy consumption would result in $193 million in utility cost savings and 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. In conjunction with Energy STAR, NADA evaluated all major areas of a dealership and identified multiple opportunities for savings in each location in their study “Putting Energy into Profits.â€

energy efficiency for car dealerships
For a detailed review of these measures and their application in the dealership, visit or schedule an energy audit with a qualified contractor today. From incentive programs to equipment rebates and recycling, local utilities may provide assistance in determining how best to implement energy efficiency solutions.The following measures represent opportunities for savings in existing dealerships:

  1. High efficiency HVAC equipment
  2. T8 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts
  3. T5 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts in low-bay applications
  4. Metal halide lamps for exterior, security and high-bay lighting
  5. Compact fluorescent fixtures and bulbs in place of recessed can fixtures and incandescent bulbs
  6. Daylight controls on all exterior lighting
  7. LED Exit signs
  8. Occupancy sensors for all low-traffic areas
  9. High-efficiency motors and variable speed drives in all machinery
  10. Efficient office equipment and appliances

To learn more about programs available in your area, visit or check out how Jim saved money at his dealership here:


For more on small business energy efficiency:

Part 1 – Grocery and Convenience Store Energy Efficiency

Part 2- Retail Store Energy Efficiency

Part 3 – Automotive Dealership Energy Efficiency

Part 4 – Restaurant Energy Efficiency

Part 5 – Office Space Energy Efficiency

Part 6 – Manufacturing Facility Energy Efficiency

Part 7 – Medical & Dental Office Energy Efficiency

Part 8 – Energy Efficiency in Education


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