Lithia drives up its energy efficiency
By Oliver Kesting, Energy Trust of Oregon
Oliver Kesting is business sector lead at Energy Trust of Oregon.
Oregon’s Lithia Motors Inc, the ninth largest auto dealer in the U.S., recently installed energy-efficient lighting projects at six dealerships in Medford and Klamath Falls — receiving cash incentives of $89,790 from Energy Trust of Oregon in return.
Like many local businesses, Lithia Motors keeps a close watch on its bottom line and looks to energy-saving projects as a way to operate more efficiently and maintain its edge in a competitive industry. This Oregon auto dealer has also built upon the foundation of these energy-efficiency projects to emerge as a leader in embracing sustainability as part of its corporate culture.
Since 2004, Lithia Motors has saved nearly 1.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity through dozens of lighting projects at dealerships throughout Oregon. Energy Trust has provided more than $265,000 in cash incentives toward the cost of these energy-efficiency improvements.
Right now, the company is building a new 70,000-square-foot headquarters in Medford that is expected to earn LEED Silver certification. Lithia is investing in renewable energy with a solar array on the roof of the new headquarters building and actively participates in energy awareness events to highlight the latest in energy-efficient vehicle technologies.
At its dealerships, Lithia’s biggest use of power is in parking lot display lights. According to Mark DeBoer, Lithia's vice president of real estate, the company has been working to upgrade to more efficient lighting at its lots in Oregon and across the country. Its recent cash incentives resulted from projects in Medford at Nissan, Honda, Toyota and BMW dealerships and Lithia Body and Paint, as well as Lithia Ford in Klamath Falls. These projects alone are expected to save 271,295 kilowatt hours — or about about $20,890 in utility costs.
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