Cox Automotive presented Boston’s Planet Subaru auto dealership with its Leader in Sustainability Award at the 103rd National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas last Saturday for the retailer's strong focus on implementing green technology for a more sustainable business environment.
In addition to becoming the first Subaru location powered solely by solar panels in 2011, Planet Subaru has installed many sustainable features in its dealership over the years. This includes LED lighting around the walls, goat-scaping the property since 2013, the Ruby Trail footpath and wildlife habitat with National Wildlife Federation certification, collaborating with a local school to produce an orchard harvest of 40 fruit trees, and preventing 350 gallons of oil from spilling into the eco-system each year by utilizing on-site composting and used oil-filter recycling.
It has also become a Planet Subaru tradition every year to raise Northern Bobwhite Quails threatened by habitat losses and release them into the woods on the property. Together with Chapman Farm School students and teachers, the dealership has released 300 quails thus far.
“The car business takes a lot from Mother Nature, so we have a responsibility to return the favor,” Planet Subaru co-founder Jeff Morrill told Mega Dealer News.
Planet Subaru is receiving $10,000 in funding for a sustainability project as the award recipient along with an energy audit from Cox Conserves. Morrill said the team plans on establishing a living wall consisting of hundreds of plants in the dealership's service department as part of a renovation.
Morrill spoke on how the business' sustainability projects produce cost savings while also improving the dealership’s financial stability. The 374-panel solar array would not have been possible without a large upfront investment but saves the company $15,000 in annual energy costs, he said. This has even made positive impacts in the number of new customers.
“When customers learn about the depth of our long-term commitment to the environment, they choose us over other dealers because they want to do business with people who share their values,” Morrill said. “We believe the increase in business helps defray the costs of the projects.”
Planet Subaru is currently planning to construct a rainwater collection system using tanks to supply the water for car washes, as evaporation causes its system to constantly require a new fresh-water supply.
“The Planet team invests a lot of effort in sustainability practices, so we really appreciate the recognition,” Morrill said.