Basic dealership info: Joachim Neumann, President of the Auto West Group founded Auto West BMW in 1986. In 2007 we opened a new 62,000 sq ft dealership on the corner of Shell and Cambie road in Richmond BC.
Basic dealership design: We incorporated Geo-thermal heating and cooling technology in our design to eliminate the traditional HVAC system to eliminate harmful CFC’s. As well, part of the geothermal design is a green roof concept. The benefits of green roof gardens are greater sound insulation, reduced heating / cooling needs and reduce storm water runoff. Green roofs decrease carbon dioxide and dust from the building and are a source of pollen for bee’s and berries for birds. There is two underground tanks holding 8,000 gallons that collect storm water runoff then filter it which we use to irrigate our lawns and roof top gardens; this lowers our water consumption considerable. To further reduce our water consumption. we installed a water reclaim system in our carwash with two 1500 gallon underground storage tanks; this system captures water used during the washing process, filters it so it can be reused during the next wash cycle.
**NOTE: The ROI on our geo-thermal green initiative is approximately 15 years, dependant on cost of utilities in the future.
Green Roof Gardens: Our initial green roof gardens had some substantial failure in 2009 due to design flaw. We redesigned most of the gardens in early 2010. We’ve installed over 2,200 additional plants and added one more garden as part of the apiary that we installed which includes 3 bee hives. We now have 8 gardens with different themes using many plants native to BC. Each taiga design bed has 8” of Sopraflor X growing medium and irrigation to use when required. Three of the gardens were turned into a community garden which we grow vegetables that are donated to the local food bank here in Richmond. Our Apiary garden has 8 Malus Espaliered 3 tier #5 (apple trees) that produce 6 different species of apples on each tree; Dwarf Braeburn, Gala, Jonagold, Macintosh, Fuji and Gravenstein. We have a total of 37 Vaccinium duke / 11 Chippewa or (blue berry bushes) and over 3,500 flowering plants that bloom from March – September including many bee friendly plants; Aster, Lavundula (lavender), Rudbecka, Helleborus, Salvia, Echinacea, Campanula, penstemon, several different species of sedum (variegated stonecrop, Oregon stonecrop, Cape blanco stonecrop), fragaria chiloensis (wild strawberry), Ameria Juniperfolia, red currant, pink carpet roses, lewisia sunset, coreposis moonbeam, Buxus Semp, Suffruiticosa, Berginia Apple Blossom #1, Armeria Dusseldorf Pride, Diantgus Flashing light and several different fescues.
The apiary on our roof: With the concern of the worldwide phenomenon of CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, we designed an apiary on our roof top to compliment our green roof gardens. Apis Mellifera is the scientific name for the common honey bee we have in our apiary. The apiary consists of 3 colonies that house approximately 150,000 bees during the peak of summer pollen and nectar flow. Each hive will produce approximately 40 to 60 lbs of honey which is harvested and shared with our clients and staffs. We are currently part of a study by Dr. Katherine Dunster, MBCSLA, CSLA, R.P.Bio. and York University with Osmia Lignaria or Blue Orchard Mason bee on how the urban environment impacts their natural nesting behavior to determine if they will naturally inhabit our rooftop sanctuary.
Wind turbine / Solar panels / Recycling building: Our commitment to the environment is ongoing as new technologies present themselves; we look closely at each one to see if and how they would work within our design. We developed a recycling building which is 763 sq. feet that incorporates solar and wind turbine technology and 2 smaller green roof gardens. The recycling building houses a new concept from Waste Management called “single stream recycling”. This program allows us to combine most of our recyclables in to one container making it “easier” for our staffs to recycle by eliminating confusion. The power generated from the wind turbine and solar panels is “dumped” back into the Hydro grid thus reducing our overall power consumption. The 9 solar panels are 235 watt modules and generate approximately 2300 kw/hrs of power. The V.A.W.T (vertical Axis wind turbine), is 53’ tall with vertical blades that are 9’ in length with a swept area of 63 square feet that is designed to produce 3500 watts of power at optimum* wind speed. We have installed in-line meters to record the power we have generated and after a year of operation, we will have recorded data to share. Once we have those statistics, we can better understand the power we are generating and what the ROI of the systems will look like. In the end, this is not about an ROI, but on being a leader in green initiatives and doing what is right to try and help reduce our carbon footprint as a luxury automotive business.
**Notes: Optimum wind speed is 29.1 mph
Team Green: We have a staff lead committee that reviews our recycling practices and brings suggestions back to improve in that area. We incorporated a composting program for the organic food waste discarded by staffs from lunches. There are 2 Sun-Mar 400 composters, one located on the perimeter of the Recycling shed and the other on our roof top. We will use the soil to help fertilize the gardens around the property including the green roof garden on the main building.
Reasons behind doing this: We have made all of these investments without the expectation of an immediate financial return, as this is about being a leader in the automotive market place, good corporate citizen within our community by doing what is right for the environment.