In partnership with the RMI and the Carbon Trust, the SMMT has published the guide to give dealers real cost saving solutions.
Working with 30 dealerships, the guide shows how dealers could save up to £10k per year, 10 per cent with zero cost activities, and save 25 per cent with ‘modest investment’.
One of the dealerships who took part in the research was Edinburgh-based Nissan dealer Alex F Noble. David Noble, Managing Director, explains: ‘As a businessman operating in a tough environment, I always strive to keep costs to the minimum.
‘Whilst I pride myself on being successful at this, the Efficiency Survey reinforced the importance of our disciplined approach to energy saving. I am certain that many of my dealer colleagues would benefit from a detailed review of this type. Significant savings can be made through simple disciplines.’
The SMMT’s key recommendation is a seven-step plan to help dealers take action and address energy use. Dealers should appoint an ‘Energy Champion’ by identifying a staff member to drive and oversee energy management.
An ‘Energy Policy’ should be written which is signed by management and communicated to employees. And identify all meters, ensuring invoices are easily to hand.
Dealers should ‘monitor and target energy use’ by regularly reading meters regularly, plotting their consumption and identifying waste.
Regular energy ‘walkabouts’ should be made too, and energy saving measures should be ‘implemented’.
The SMMT’s seventh and last recommendation is one of engagement. Dealership staff should be fully aware of the action plan, and customers should know too – objectives and successes should be communicated to the public.
Five top recommendations
The SMMT has top five recommendations on saving energy. They are simple, but can help dealers unnecessarily putting their hands into their pockets every month. The first concerns lighting – when bulb and strip lighting blows, either replace them with more efficient equivalents, or invest in LED lights.
Dealers should consider replacing hot air heaters with radiant heating in their workshops, and insulate pipework, valves and flanges.
The monitoring of energy use is a top recommendation, too. Realistic targets for reduction should be made, and dealers should be sure to act on any findings.
The controls of heating, electrical, hot water and lighting systems should all be set correctly. It sounds obvious but does the air con have to be on overnight, for instance?
Lastly, think about compressed air. Dealers should ensure that air compressors are also switched off overnight and regularly maintained.
No cost measures
The 30 dealerships that were surveyed for the guide ranged from small independents to large franchises. It was found that by resetting air con settings on dealers’ sites saves £6k a year, resetting the showroom’s boiler saves £8k a year, and reducing showroom lighting levels saves £775 a year. All of these cost nothing to implement, but can save a wedge of money a year.
In 2007, Issac Agnew Group decided to drive down their energy costs. By appointing an energy representative who conducted showroom walkabouts, and monitored electricity usage, by 2010 the group had saved £170k a year!
Ford has also decided to implement energy saving in its dealerships – its encouraging its dealer network to install LED lighting. LED rafts use up to 60 per cent less energy, and over a six year period a single raft can deliver an estimated reduction of two tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Meanwhile Mercedes-Benz of Watford has embraced new lighting techniques. Part of its ‘Green dealer’ project, the dealership now only lights the cars in the showroom at night, instead of the whole showroom. It reduces costs and attracts customers.
‘The retail side of the motor industry is still at the beginning of saving energy,’ said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. ‘However one of the most exciting things we found when we started this initiative was the good number of dealerships who had already begun in this area and had made a lot of progress.
‘But what we found was that their methods were not packaged in a way that every dealer could get access to them and start saving money, hence our efforts in this guide. We are also looking at other ways dealers can move forward in addressing energy efficiency, areas such water usage and waste management.’
To download to full guide, log onto www.smmt.co.uk/dealerenergyefficiency