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NJ dealer 1st in U.S. to achieve ‘grid neutral’ status

Rossi Honda in Vineland, N.J., is the first automotive dealership in the country to achieve “electric grid neutral” status – that is, it is producing as much or more electricity from renewable energy resources as the dealership consumes in operating all of its systems.

The independently owned dealership worked closely with Honda’s Environmental Leadership Program team to measure its energy use and develop and execute a plan to make it the first electric grid-neutral dealer among the approximately 17,500 dealers in the U.S.

Rossi Honda recently received Honda’s top “Platinum” level Environmental Leadership Award, which is given to dealers who reduce energy consumption to net zero or achieve LEED Platinum status. (LEED – Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design – is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council that provides third-party verification of “green” buildings.)

By instituting a combination of energy efficiency measures and on-site solar energy installations, the dealership reduced its annual energy consumption by roughly 321,000 kWh and its annual CO2 emissions by about 341,000 lbs. (The generation of electricity from the electric grid – versus electricity from solar or wind power, for example – produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change.)

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Two years ago owner Ron Rossi installed a 223-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system over his parking lot; last year he replaced the metal halide lamps on the lot’s light poles with energy-reducing LED lamps. He says the gain has been more than just the abundant electricity savings. The roofing over the lot provides protection to the vehicles, personnel and customers and delivers better lighting and superior security.

Automotive dealerships are known to be high consumers of energy, what with lot and interior lighting, onsite car wash systems, auto service and repair operations. This makes them ideal candidates for energy reduction initiatives. Rossi Honda’s achievement – and what other dealers can learn from Ron Rossi’s efforts – stands to significantly impact the industry.

“By becoming the first electric grid neutral dealer in the nation,” says Ron Rossi, “we want to demonstrate that even automobile dealers, which are big energy consumers, can take a leadership role in being environmentally responsible businesses and save money at the same time. We encourage all dealers to join us in this effort.”

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