According to Energy Star, car dealers use more energy per square foot than a typical office building. Fortunately, there are some energy-saving tips for car dealerships that will help your business save money while maintaining good lighting, safety, and comfort.

Your Tools

Two tools you’ll really want to keep an eye on because they consume so much electricity are:

  • Compressors: Various types of compressors consume energy at different rates. They’ll also be much less efficient if not properly maintained, which is why proper maintenance is so important here.
  • Paint booths: These need a lot of energy, but they’re better now than they were just 5 years ago. This is because they now have better motors, air flow, ducting, controls, and lighting. So if your paint booth is out-of-date, it’s time to get a new one.

Detailing Centers

Most car dealerships have a way of washing and detailing vehicles today. Whether this is by using a simple pressure washer or maintaining a fully automated car wash, these are very energy-intensive. Outside of building an entirely new detailing center, you can:

  • Change out lights to HID lighting and T8 lamps.
  • Install a heat pump for water heating. Since these concentrate the existing heat, they cost much less than gas or electric pumps for heating.
  • Make sure your boiler is working efficiently (look for 8% annual fuel-use efficiency). Look for any problems with combustion or sediment.
  • Check your water reclamation system. When working properly, it reduces your water usage by about 60%.

Bay Doors

You open and close your bay doors dozens of times each day as vehicles come and go. Sometimes they’re left open unnecessarily for long periods of time too. There are a few things you can do to cut down on energy loss here, including:

  • Make sure the door’s seals aren’t cracked or hardened, letting in air infiltration.
  • Help your employees understand why keeping the doors shut (or open) is important.
  • If you’re installing new bay doors, make sure they have R-10 (or greater) interior and exterior thermal breaks and their actuators are sensor-driven. This is important because then your bay doors open and close in a smaller amount of the time.


Your shop requires a variety of specialty task lighting (e.g. drag lights). Older lighting use incandescent lamps or halogen bulbs, which are both energy-intensive.

Updating your lighting means reduced energy consumption (use 12-20-watt fluorescent or 5-8-watt LED instead of 60-100-watt incandescent lights). These are also much safer as they won’t cause severe burns like halogen lights. They’re also more durable as their filament and lamp don’t break as easily.

Energy Efficient Products

These are just a few of the many products you can update so your dealership is more energy-efficient. While some of these are very costly, there are some other things you can do to save money, including:

  • Adjust your temperature set point so you’re not adjusting it constantly throughout the day. Instead, keep it set to 60-65 degrees at night and 65-68 degrees during the day.
  • Update all lighting to energy-efficient lightbulbs. Also make sure employees turn the lights off when leaving at night. This is also true when you’re leaving on vacation or for any other duration of time. You don’t want to light the place the same as you would when employees are working there.
  • Computers also need to be turned off at night. When you replace them, make sure you do so with ones that have an Energy Star logo on them.

There are many ways of saving money on your energy bill. None of these will make you or anyone else feel uncomfortable. If you do choose to update your equipment, think about the long-term payoff while making the short-term investment.