Honda released a dealer guide to help its auto dealers adopt more environmentally responsible business practices while also reducing costs.

The automaker said it is publicly releasing its “Green Dealer” Guide. The automaker added this 93-page energy efficiency roadmap was developed specifically for dealerships and similar commercial buildings with high energy loads.

It continued by saying it is encouraging auto dealers – across all brands – to download the guide and reduce their environmental footprint.

According to Honda, the “Green Dealer” Guide synthesizes the company’s experience over the past three years helping its U.S. dealers reduce their energy consumption through its Environmental Leadership Program.

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So far, the program has helped 45 Honda and Acura dealers collectively reduce their annual CO2 emissions by approximately 5,000 tons, the equivalent annual footprint of the electricity needed to power more than 600 U.S. homes, explained Honda. In addition, dealers have cut their cumulative annual operating costs by more than $800,000.

According to Honda, if all 17,000 automotive dealerships across the country were to reduce their electricity consumption by just 10 percent, nearly 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions would be eliminated annually.

“In researching existing green building programs, we found there was nothing ideally suited to the unique operational needs of auto dealerships, especially existing dealer facilities. We decided to create a roadmap that any dealer can use to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and cut overhead costs,” said Steven Center, Vice President of American Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office. “The bottom line is that green business is good business, and this guide gives dealers the tools they need to become more efficient and profitable at the same time.”

Honda explained dealerships have unique energy use characteristics that differ from other commercial or industrial energy users. Abundant parking lot and interior lighting, an auto service and repair operation, and an on-site car wash are all common features that can contribute to high energy and water demand. Approximately 46 percent of the average dealer’s energy use can be attributed to interior and exterior lighting, while 43 percent comes from building heating and cooling.

Highest impact improvement areas mentioned by the automaker include installing high-efficiency lighting systems and motion sensors that turn lights off when they’re not needed, optimizing programmable thermostats, replacing older air-conditioning and heating systems with newer, more energy-efficient equipment, and installing low-flow water fixtures. Adding solar panels is said to be another great way to significantly offset energy usage.

Honda added it is encouraging auto dealers across all brands, as well as other commercial businesses, to download the Honda “Green Dealer” Guide.