The Find Green Garage public verification program has received new grant funding to provide vehicle service and repair shop owners (as well as their customers) cash-back incentives for improving their carbon footprint and reducing energy consumption.
Shop owners registered in the ENERGY STAR Green Garage Challenge can sign up to receive incentives for managing their green sustainability on a continuous basis. Participants in the program will earn from 3 to 10 percent for purchasing green products, minimizing waste, and reducing their energy usage, according to the organization.
The Green Garage Challenge (www.findgreengarage.com) is an EPA Small Business Partnership program for improving energy efficiency in the auto service and repair industry. Shop owners can use the online tools on the site to provide data and receive a rating based on energy usage and emissions.
According to Steven Schillinger, administrator of the Green Garage Challenge, interested shops can receive a free audit to qualify their eligibility. "We have a network of 600 contractors that evaluate the shops to determine where they can improve their performance," Schillinger says. "You look at things like whether they leave the roll-up doors open in the winter, or if they're using an old air compressor, and determine how to improve their energy use."
Using equipment installed on the transformer that feeds the shop, the organization can monitor energy usage and provide hard data on where the inefficiencies are. To make any identified improvements, the shops can receive a credit toward the purchase of, for example, a more efficient air compressor based on the expected energy savings.
"Or if you are going to buy $15,000 in waterborne paint, you can get 10 percent back to the shop, which you can only spend on the purchase of paint with the jobber you bought the paint from in the first place," Schillinger says.