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Toyota has been selected as one of just 21 companies – and the only automotive company – to participate in a special Department of Energy (DOE) program to speed the adoption of energy-saving building and facility technologies, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. announced on September 26.
Toyota and the other companies named will work with DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the efforts to speed market adoption of current energy-saving technologies and produce real-building design solutions yielding significant and measurable energy savings in commercial buildings.
Toyota was selected in part because of the company's role in the development of dealership facilities meeting the U.S. Green Building Council's, Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) criteria. To date, two Toyota dealerships are the only dealerships to have received LEED certification. Five other Toyota dealerships are expected to receive certification before the end of the year and as many as 10 more could be certified in 2009.
Both certified Toyota dealerships – and those pending certification – were built as part of the company's Eco-Image USA II initiative that puts an emphasis on environmental sensitivity when building new facilities or updating current facilities. For instance, under the program, panels used on the building's exterior are made up of 90 percent recycled aluminum and Toyota assists dealers with cutting edge green options, including different power sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.
"Being named part of this program is a tribute to those dealers with the vision and commitment to develop environmentally sensitive buildings in conjunction with Toyota's Image II Eco design program," said TMS president Jim Lentz. "We will continue to work with dealers and the DOE to develop energy efficient facilities and guidelines that will benefit the entire industry.
Other major retailers named to the program, that will received $15 million in DOE funding, include Best Buy, JCPenney, John Deere, Macy's, Target and Whole Foods. Major commercial real estate firms include CB Richard Ellis, InterContinental Hotels, Tishman Speyer, Westfield LLC. Financial institutions include Bank of America and PNC Financial Services.
"Working in partnership with these companies, DOE can achieve the nation's goals of reducing energy use and carbon emissions, while setting an example that other commercial building owners can follow," said John Mizroch DOE acting assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
In 2007, according to the DOE, commercial buildings accounted for 19 percent of U.S. energy use and accounted for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.