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Colma Helps Auto Dealerships Reduce Energy Usage


The Town of Colma has one of Northern California’s most complete collections of auto dealerships, and the dealerships are the largest business sector in Colma. For this reason, the town developed programs for dealerships to reduce their energy usage as an effective strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Colma staff organized a breakfast workshop in partnership with Right Lights and PG&E for auto dealership managers to learn about energy efficiency upgrades specifically for their industry. “We actively reached out to all our dealerships to invite them to the event and learn about how they could save money and cut energy costs” said Kathleen Gallagher, Colma’s Sustainability Programs Manager. With extensive outreach efforts, the majority of Colma dealership managers attended the event. At the workshop, the dealership managers learned about proven strategies to cut energy usage, successful case studies of other dealerships’ energy upgrades, benefits of improved lighting quality and available rebates and incentives.

Town staff encouraged dealerships to schedule a free energy assessment during and after the event. “What impressed me the most was the cooperation and support among the dealerships to help each other understand the benefits and process of the energy assessment, retrofit and rebate programs available,” said Lori Burns, HR Manager. 

The Right Lights Program provides free energy assessments and recommends upgrades tailored to the needs of each individual dealership. For instance, the Hyundai Serramonte dealership replaced their outdated outdoor lighting with T5 fluorescent lights, which not only helped reduce the dealership’s PG&E bill it also improved the lighting quality outdoors.

After the workshop, town staff continued outreach to encourage energy assessments and upgrades. As a result, over 50 percent of Colma’s dealerships completed assessments and energy efficiency upgrades. In total, the dealerships saw a reduction of energy usage of 614,000 kWh in a year, and saved $104,000 annually on their utility bills. Also, PG&E provided $91,000 in rebates to help dealerships offset the cost of the energy efficient upgrades. ”The workshop for our auto dealers led to a successful outcome because we were able to connect the dealerships with programs and rebates that made it easy for them to take action and implement upgrades that are saving energy and money – and in turn, lowering energy use in the Town” said Colma’s City Planner, Michael Pl Laughlin. As a result of this program, Colma will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 240 tons of CO2e per year.

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