General Motors to start aligning dealerships with green vehicles

November 1, 2012

Auto dealerships across the country may be promoting the latest range of fuel efficient cars and electric vehicles, but the car showroom itself could soon become another example of energy efficient efficient building technologies.

According to the Midland Daily News, General Motors could be planning to start aligning the energy efficiency of their vehicles with the commercial building that they are being sold in. A partnership between GridNavigator, providers of an intelligent energy management system, and Bloom General Contracting has been working with LaFontaine Automotive, a GM dealership in Dexter, Michigan.

The plan was to retrofit the current car showroom and to advance the benefits of purchasing a green vehicle from a company that sees a bigger picture of energy efficiency.The showroom in Dexter will be fitted with optimized energy usage lighting and renewable energy systems, while the building itself will have the heating and ventilation systems upgraded to conform to a LEED standard.

Real-time energy usage information will be displayed to customers, with the environmental savings of both vehicles and energy efficiency building a prime focus. The system is cloud-based and is able to link data from different facilities to provide the optimum environment. While this is the first GM dealership to install the technology, the long-term strategy is to roll it out to other dealers across the country.

"With a strong commitment to green building, auto dealers can connect with customers, control energy costs and differentiate their brand," said Alan Bloom, chairman and CEO, Bloom General Contracting. "The LaFontaine Automotive Group is a trailblazer in green auto dealerships and is recognizing the benefits of being a leader."

While the owners of commercial real estate have been gradually introducing green building technology into their portfolios, government-backed initiatives such as the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) in Greater Philadelphia are championing innovative uses of building materials. Car dealerships may not seem an obvious choice, but they are an opportunity to install systems over a wide range of commercial buildings with the opportunity to provide an educational element to consumers.

"Educating customers on energy efficiency opportunities for our businesses, homes and communities supports the sales process of fuel efficient vehicles," said Mary Alice Kurtz, program manager, Facility Sustainability Initiatives, GM. "By purposefully integrating sustainability into our showrooms, we help our customers to better understand our energy alternatives, advanced technologies and our ongoing commitment to a more sustainable future."