Thursday, October 16, 2008

Toyota is First Green Dealership in Western USA

We already know about the great drives from Toyota -- the best-selling Prius hybrid and the Camry hybrid. Now, Toyota has the first green car dealership in the Western USA, also the first and only LEED-Certified car dealership in Utah.

Mark Miller Toyota in Salt Lake City was designed from the ground up with environmental standards in mind, using construction elements designed to conserve both energy and water, and construction uses lots of local and recycled materials -- including recycled windshield glass pulverized into use as a carpet backing. How's that for ingenuity -- your footsteps are cushioned by smooshed glass.

Some other eco-friendly construction and design elements include --
  • A high-performance, high-efficiency heating and cooling system;

  • Innovative sun-tracking skylights that make the most of natural daylight and help reduce use of lights inside

  • A cool-roof system to lower the overall heat that comes off large buildings

  • Landscaping that requires a minimal amount of water

  • Low-flow faucets and toilets and waterless urinals to conserve water

  • A cistern system to collect and store rainwater and air conditioning
    condensation for irrigation and for washing cars

  • High-speed glass service bay doors to reduce heat and cold loss from
    service areas at the same time they provide additional light to the interior

  • Recycled materials used in tile, carpeting, wood paneling and cubicles

  • A full-service cafe as well as a fuel facility on-site so employees and customers won't
    have to drive to get something to fill their bellies or their tanks.

Another feature of the dealership is a display that shows the building's energy use over the last half hour or so. It's the same kind of energy panel drivers of Toyota hybrid cars know well.

The dealership has applied for and expects to be awarded a Gold LEED certification in the next few weeks. Just so you know -- LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a voluntary program designed to promote and validate environmental leadership in the building industry. It's tough to get LEED certification -- there's an extensive application and review process, and you have to re-certify regularly to keep your eco-friendly status. As far as LEED certification is concerned -- you can honestly say (apologies to Kermit) it's not easy being green!

Pat Lobb Toyota in McKinney, Texas was the first dealership to earn LEED certification in 2006. Besides Mark Miller Toyota, five other Toyota dealerships in the country are built and either have received or are in the process of being reviewed for LEED certification. Three additional dealerships seeking LEED certification are under construction with several more in the design and planning stages.

So thank you, Toyota, for making great green drives and great green car dealerships, too.

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