Energy usage is the single largest operating cost of commercial properties and accounts for almost 20% of annual greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the federal government’s ENERGY STAR® program. Those numbers are even higher for automotive dealerships, which consume about 116 megajoules (110 kilo-British thermal units converted) per square foot, compared to prime office space at 98 MJ (93 kBtu), according to a report from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). NADA states that a reduction of 10% in energy usage from all dealerships in the United States could translate to savings of more than $193 million in utility costs and more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere annually. Here’s what you need to know about how to reduce operating costs at your dealership with smart energy management.
What is energy management?
Energy management includes any initiatives that proactively manage, optimize, and control your dealership’s energy usage to save money and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
It can encompass minor improvements, such as monitoring your monthly energy bills and using energy-saving lightbulbs, or major improvements, such as upgrading your insulation, overhauling your heating and cooling system, and installing a reflective roof on your dealership.
Many energy management initiatives take advantage of software designed to monitor utility usage and predict future energy use for the purposes of budgeting and strategic planning.
How does energy management benefit your automotive dealership?
While many dealerships treat energy costs as merely a line item in their annual budgets, NADA recommends that dealerships proactively ask themselves:
- How much energy is used?
- What are the costs of energy, including seasonal variations and peak charges?
- What are available options for purchasing electricity and natural gas at lower rates?
- What are the potential future costs of energy?
Knowing this information, dealerships can utilize strategies to save energy and the costs associated with it. Some of these strategies include:
- Facility improvements and energy management technologies that provide ROI.
- Awareness of energy consumption trends and forecasts.
- Easier management of potential future price changes.
- Seeking rate classification changes and aggregating facilities to boost purchasing power.
NADA also points out that energy management is an ongoing process that should continually evolve to encompass new actions and assess the results.
Dealerships that take a proactive approach to energy management can expect to see benefits such as cost savings, decreased emissions, and more accurate budgeting.
Energy cost savings
Once you start implementing your energy management initiatives, you should start to see your utility bills decrease. NADA reports that all dealerships could potentially reduce energy costs by at least 20%, with even greater savings possible with more advanced energy efficiency and energy management approaches.
Knowing where your energy costs are coming from and taking concrete steps to lessen the amount of energy used will help to decrease the amount of money you need to allocate towards energy.
For example, replacing or improving old insulation could reduce heating loss and improve cost of heating and cooling your facilities.
Decreased greenhouse gas emissions
Less energy usage correlates to fewer greenhouse gas emissions being released into the environment. Not only is this good for the environment, but energy efficiency can help position your dealership as a sustainability leader, which can help you attract customers, clients, and employees, all of whom are seriously considering sustainability practices when making decisions about which businesses to deal with.
You can use your energy management initiatives in your marketing to announce your business’s sustainability to potential customers, business partners, and employees.
Energy saving initiatives may also help you gain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points for your dealership.
More accurate budgeting
Sophisticated building management software can help dealerships predict energy by month based on seasonal spikes and general energy use. Money saved on energy can be used to support other energy efficiency initiatives, such as EV charging, at your location.
Electric vehicle charging and energy management
Energy management can also be implemented with electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) at your dealership. Especially if your business is installing a combination of Level 2 and DC fast charging stations, smart planning can help you save money and energy.
Local load management
With the Blink charging network, you save installation costs by using local load management, which allows station hosts to share power between charging stations. This smart feature helps you efficiently use the available power at your business and may reduce the cost of installation when upgrading infrastructure.
Strategic charger placement may also help with energy management. Placing chargers closer to a power source will not only cut down on the number of new conduits and wiring you’ll need, but it could also reduce the need to upgrade your on-site electrical equipment.
For example, if your main power room is on the west side of your dealership, it is best to install EVSE near the west side relatively close to this room to take advantage of proximity. The closer your charging spaces are to your electrical panel, the shorter your conduits will need to be.
With Blink fleet management, businesses can schedule charging for off-peak energy hours. That means that at the end of the day, your sales managers can plug your fleet vehicles into a Series 7 charging station, and electrons would only flow to the vehicle when electricity is cheapest.
When it comes to saving money at dealerships, energy management is an obvious place to start. And with Blink’s flexible solutions and smart energy features on the Blink Network, it’s easy to get started with EV charging at your dealership. Contact Blink Charging to learn how you can add EV charging stations at your dealership while minimizing energy costs.