July 9, 2008
Dealer’s Green Badge a Utah First
By Steven Oberbeck, The Salt Lake Tribune
Jul. 9--Utah automobile dealer Mark Miller talks about the new "green" building housing his Toyota-Scion dealership the same way car owners talks about their new vehicles -- with obvious pride.The new store and service center, built at a cost of approximately $25 million and located on six acres at 730 S. West Temple in downtown Salt Lake City, opened Monday. It is the first automobile dealership in Utah to earn LEED certification, Miller said.
"More and more car buyers are purchasing hybrid vehicles, which shows that we as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of our impact on the environment," he said. "We believe people will recognize we're trying to do the right thing" with this building.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council that provides an independent third-party verification that a building was constructed in an environmentally responsible fashion, and is a healthy place to work.
Miller said his LEED-certified dealership will operate on 25 percent less energy than a typical building. Among its eco-friendly features are:
--An innovative skylight system to optimize natural daylight.
--Low-flow faucets and toilets as well as waterless urinals to conserve water.
--A cistern system to collect rainwater, which will be used to wash cars.
--Exterior cladding and interior finishes made entirely from recycled and other environmentally friendly materials.
--Carpet backed by recycled windshield glass.
--High-speed doors that provide access for automobiles to the showrooms and services bay. They are designed to cut down on the loss of hot or cool air from the dealership, depending upon the season.
"Everything that can be recycled will be recycled," Miller said. "We're not going to be using hardly any water and we won't be turning many lights on in the building."
Miller purchased the property, which previously was the site of another automobile dealership, in 2007. He kept parts of the original building in an effort to eliminate any waste that would have resulted from a complete demolition of the structure. Those parts that were removed were recycled, he said.
Automobile dealer Pat Lobb of Pat Lobb Toyota in McKinney, Texas, claims the distinction of operating the first LEED-certified automobile dealership in the country. And he said his venture into eco-friendly development has proved a big economic benefit to his business.
"I tell other dealers [including Miller] who come to visit and see our operation that if they are considering doing this because they love the green aspect of it and want to help the environment, then God bless them," Lobb said.
But then he points out that "as a business owner you absolutely have to do it [green construction] because of the return it will provide on your investment."
Lobb said his building, which opened its doors in August 2006, cost about 7 percent more than a similar structure using traditional materials and methods.
"Right now, we're looking at a payback of that additional investment in only three to five years," he said. "And the benefits will just go on after that."
Pat Lobb Toyota, for example, washes about 3,000 cars every month. The dealership recycles most of its water and gets an additional 500 gallons a month from the drip pans on its high-efficiency air-conditioning units.
"Right now, our water bill for the entire dealership is $600 a month," he said.
Yet getting the plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council that says a building is LEED-certified doesn't come cheap.
In early 2007, Park City built the Park City Ice Arena to LEED standards but balked at the $27,500 cost of certification. "We support the whole green-building concept but when it came down to it we just felt we really didn't need the plaque," said Dana Williams, Park City's mayor.
Instead, the city intends to use that money to put up a small wind turbine that will provide power for the arena's Zamboni.
How it works
Mark Miller's new Toyota-Scion dealership will operate on 25 percent less energy than a typical building. Among its eco-friendly features are:
--Innovative skylight system to optimize natural daylight
--Low-flow faucets and toilets as well as waterless urinals
--Cistern system to collect rainwater, which will be used to wash cars
--Exterior cladding and interior finishes made entirely from recycled and other environmentally-friendly materials
--Carpet backed by recycled windshield glass
--High-speed doors that provide access for automobiles to the showrooms and services bay. They are designed to cut down on the loss of hot or cool air from the dealership, depending upon the season
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