LaFontaine Automotive Group joins other businesses and individuals in celebration of Earth Day. Earth day is a day for all of us to remember the environment in our busy lives. A day that reminds us to continue to do the little things that help our environment. Things like turning off the lights, the conservation of energy, plant trees, recycle, reduce, and reuse.
Consisting of 29 retail locations across Southeast Michigan, four of LaFontaine’s locations are national leaders in their environmental efforts and are LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LaFontaine Automotive Group is one of the only dealership groups nation with four LEED certified dealerships.
What is LEED Certification?
As the gold standard in the construction industry, LEED Certification refers to buildings that have been designed, built, and maintained using green building and energy efficiency best practices. The benefits of LEED Certification include:
- Reduced energy and water usage
- Lower operating costs
- Less construction waste
- Reduced liability
- More durable buildings
- Supports the local economy
- Greater resale value
- Improved indoor air quality
- Increased employee productivity
- Better public image
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), “Green building is the practice of designing, constructing and operating buildings to maximize occupant health and productivity, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease life cycle costs.”
LaFontaine Sees Sunny Side of Solar
In February of 2019, LaFontaine Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Fenton announced it completed the installation of the largest array of solar panels on any dealership in the Midwest as part of the Group’s ongoing strategy to increase its green initiatives.
The 428 panels – installed through a partnership with POWERHOME – produces nearly 180,000 kWH annually and is expected to reduce the dealership’s electric need by 60 percent in its first year.
“My mom, Maureen LaFontaine, was a true pioneer in terms of our dealerships focusing on green initiatives,” said Ryan LaFontaine, chief operating officer, LaFontaine Automotive Group. “Being better stewards of the environment makes great business sense. Our sustainability efforts have had a positive impact on our bottom line, our workplace culture and our customers.”
The nearly 38,000 sq. ft. LaFontaine CDJR Fenton dealership was the second CDJR dealership in the nation and the first in Michigan to incorporate FCA’s new design and technology. The LaFontaine family invested heavily on the sustainability aspects of the dealership, building on best practices learned in the construction of their existing LEED certified dealerships.
The best green practices used during the build of the LaFontaine CDJR Fenton dealership include:
- Additional roof insulation equal to R-38
- White solar reflective roof
- All LED lighting interior and exterior with advanced control systems
- High recycled content in 90% of building materials
- Waste stream management
- High-efficiency HVAC system and controls, occupancy controls and timers with WiFi system controls and monitoring
- Low flow and measured fixtures for water efficiency
- Sourced materials regionally when possible
“We applaud the green investments undertaken by the LaFontaine family,” said FCA U.S. Head of Sales Reid Bigland. “Their efforts are an example for the entire automotive industry as we all work to improve and protect our environment.”
A recent McKinsey paper stated dealers need drastic business-model changes in the approaching age of autonomous, electric and shared vehicles. These changes include reducing operating costs through improved efficiency.
“The fact that LaFontaine will own a majority of their power at their Fenton location says a lot about how much they believe in the value of solar,” said Jayson Waller, CEO of POWERHOME. “LaFontaine already is a leader in the U.S. auto industry and adding renewable energy will further position the dealership as environmentally conscious.”
Why is LaFontaine Automotive Group Focused on “Going Green?”
“Going green” means to pursue knowledge and practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.”
“We believe it is our priority to bring green initiatives to our group and strive to be an environmental leader in our community,” said Kelley LaFontaine, VP, LaFontaine Automotive Group. “We’ve realized how important ‘going green’ is for the health and well-being of our community, and that ties in with our mission statement; giving back to our community.”
The LaFontaine Automotive group is dedicated to protecting the environment and promoting the green movement. It’s four nationally-recognized LEED certified locations include:
- Gold LEED Certified at LaFontaine Cadillac Buick GMC of Highland
- Gold LEED Certified at LaFontaine Ford of Birch Run
- Silver LEED Certified at LaFontaine Chevrolet of Dexter
- Silver LEED Certified at LaFontaine Volkswagen of Dearborn
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
LEED is based on prerequisites and credits that a project meets to achieve a certification level: certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. LEED works for all buildings anywhere.
Knowing that buildings can have a substantial impact on the health and wellbeing of people and the planet, it has been important to our company to consider this before our next grand opening of a store, our next remodel, or our next additions. Our Cadillac Buick GMC location, also known as our “Green” store has been a pioneer of the incorporation of eco-friendly factors into the production and upkeep of the store. Leading by example, this store has been an influence to our other locations, such as our Gold-LEED certified Ford store in Birch Run, our Silver-LEED certified stores in Dexter (LaFontaine Chevrolet) and in Dearborn (LaFontaine Volkswagen).
Additional awards earned:
- Green Building Council’s Gold Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Certification for primary dealership. (First and only car dealership in the country with this standard)
- Ryan LaFontaine has been a National Green Summit Speaker/Board Member
- GM Green Dealer Certification recognition 2015-2018
“Going green isn’t just the best way to go. It’s the ONLY way to go.”– Ryan LaFontaine COO