What have you done special with your building?
We build in as much energy savings as we can. For example, we recently replaced all of our traditional lighting, inside and out, with the most advanced LEDs. The old unit on the left used 800 watts. The brighter LED unit only uses 280 watts.
How about other kinds of pollution?
We try to look at everything through an environmental prism. In our body shop, we recently installed a brand new paint booth (with four separate filters) and we use low-VOC paints which are much healthier than traditional paints. We use no external paging in order to reduce noise pollution. We use steel wheel weights (instead of cheaper lead) when we balance tires so there is no toxic waste to dispose of later. Several of our team members carpool from Plymouth. We have our motor oil delivered by truck and pumped into a holding tank so we don’t need to use jugs or barrels.
How does your recycling commitment exceed that of the typical dealership?
Oil filters are a good example. An oil filter retains half an ounce of oil even after draining it because the filter matrix is absorbent. Many places throw them in the trash, along with the residual oil. 312 business days per year, times 30 oil changes per day, times half an ounce is over 350 gallons of oil we keep out of landfills (and ultimately, groundwater) every year. Other examples: We shred and recycle all our paper. We use dedicated recycle dumpsters for cardboard and steel.
How about the “eco-nomics?” Does your commitment to the environment mean your prices are higher?
No. In total, our efforts are expense neutral. We use savings in some areas to offset extra cost in others. It’s true that some things we do just cost more, but many pay back over time. For example, just think of the savings on our water bill by using a toilet that doesn’t require water. One of the unfair raps on the environmental movement is that respecting Mother Nature is bad for business. Every day we are proving that environmental responsibility can be good for business. Over the long term, there will be no economy if we don’t take sensible action now.
What do you do with trade-ins that are the end of their lives?
We donate cars to the Special Olympics, and facilitate the donations by customers of hundreds more. Their recycler drains all the fluids, disassembles the vehicles, sells useful parts, and recycles the rest. (Plus, our customers get a tax deduction and the Special Olympics uses the proceeds to fund their good work.)
Yes! Our sister store, Planet Subaru, in Hanover, Massachusetts, is also working hard to shrink its environmental footprint. Among many other advances, we installed a 78,540-watt solar power plant on the roof. To learn more about Planet Subaru’s efforts, click here.