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Bankrate's 2007 New Car Guide
Going green
Environmental concerns are bringing major changes -- right down to the cars we drive.
Going green
Dealership jumps on green bandwagon

It's not just environmentally conscious car buyers who are jumping onto the big green bandwagon -- even dealers are climbing aboard.

Take Pat Lobb Toyota in McKinney, Texas, for example.

The dealership, which opened in August 2006, is the first car dealership to achieve Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The council rates buildings on six categories: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and design process.

Achieving certification was not a matter of happenstance; rather, both Pat Lobb and Toyota had the environment in mind before the dealership was even built.

"Toyota has a history and reputation for building environmentally friendly facilities," says Lobb. "They do it kind of quietly. But they said, 'There's never been a (LEED-certified) car dealership that's been built,' so we sat down a little over two years ago and had a meeting with several architects and engineers and we had a brainstorming session -- we started thinking it through."

To meet the objective, Lobb turned the building's construction over to Turner Construction Co., a builder that has extensive experience in building environmentally friendly structures. Turner has completed 34 LEED-certified projects and employs more than 220 LEED-accredited professionals. In fact, the company trains all new employees in "green building" as determined by the LEED system.

So what does a LEED-certified building look like? In the case of the Pat Lobb dealership, there are a number of innovative, environmentally smart features.

LEED-certified building features:
A green wall. The west and north panels of the building are covered with plants to absorb the sun's heat. Not only do the plants keep the building cool, reducing energy costs, but they also humidify dry air, add oxygen to the building's surroundings and remove impurities from the air.
Recyclable panels. The exterior panels of the building are made with 95 percent recycled aluminum.
A water cistern for water recycling. "When it rains we collect rainwater runoff, but more importantly, when it doesn't rain, we collect the condensation from the 19 air conditioners into this 8,000-gallon tank," says Lobb. "Then we pump the water underground to irrigate the plants. In the month of August, last year, we were getting over 525 gallons of water a day just from the condensation."
Daylight-friendly windows. The glass used throughout the building was designed to maximize the use of natural light from the sun, thereby reducing interior lighting requirements.
No-waste car wash. A car wash utilizes a "closed loop recycled system," in which the water is recycled after each wash, saving 66 percent of the amount of water that's used in a traditional car wash.
-- Posted: Oct. 11, 2007
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