Ford Motor Company: Go Green Dealership Program


Improving energy efficiency is a vital component of Ford Motor Company's commitment to sustainability. Through its Go Green Initiative, Ford is extending that commitment beyond the corporation by partnering with independently owned, franchised Ford dealers to improve energy efficiency at their facilities.

To help dealers get started, Ford conducts an energy assessment of their facility. The assessment identifies opportunities to reduce energy consumption, including investments in new technologies and system upgrades. Over time, these investments can help dealers lower their operating costs and reduce their environmental impacts. Dealers also gain access to financial resources such as utility rebates, tax incentives, and Ford pricing rates on energy efficient building components. To further incentivize energy saving actions, Ford will partner with DOE to jointly recognize dealerships that make significant energy efficiency improvements.


Ford launched the Go Green Program in February 2010. It began with three dealerships in Florida, New York, and Nevada, and has since expanded to almost half of Ford’s dealership body. The program was developed by Ford Marketing Sales and Service and Ford Land’s Energy Team to establish the details of the energy assessment process and the format of the assessment report. Through the Go Green Program, dealers can take advantage of Ford’s expertise and resources to expand their knowledge of energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities and to earn recognition for their progress.

Dealerships participating in Go Green receive a comprehensive energy assessment from expert energy consultants hired by Ford. Reports are prepared covering the details of the energy use within an existing dealership plus recommendations for energy saving upgrades. After completion of the report, Ford conducts a thorough review with dealership management. If dealerships choose to implement any of the recommendations, Ford assists them by providing technical support and obtaining preferential pricing. Program participation is voluntary, as are dealership decisions to adopt any of the energy-saving recommendations. Dealers that proceed with facility upgrades and show significant improvement are eligible for recognition from Ford through the company’s Dealership Award Program, which is being developed in partnership with DOE’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge.


From the outset of the Go Green Program, Ford identified the facility assessment process as a critical component. Leading energy consultants were contracted to conduct dealership assessments with a focus on five primary opportunities for improvement:

  • Exterior and interior lighting
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Water usage
  • Building envelope
  • Possible renewable energy use

After the on-site assessments, the consultants prepare a comprehensive report that describes monthly and annual energy used by source, existing unit cost by energy used, and existing annual energy used by system. The reports provide a granular level of detail and a wealth of information. For example, the report provides a detailed inventory of interior lighting systems that break down the number of lighting fixtures per room, their operating hours per week, and their energy consumption level. Based on assessments conducted so far, Ford has found that about half of the average dealership’s energy consumption is attributable to lighting, split relatively evenly between indoor and outdoor lighting. Heating and cooling makes up about another 20% of the average energy load.

In addition to providing helpful energy usage data, the post-assessment reports include detailed line item recommendations for improvements and upgrades across the five focus areas. The recommendations are complemented with other information, including:

  • Financial analysis of potential annual energy savings
  • Implementation costs
  • Identification of government incentives
  • Payback calculations

Dealerships can choose which recommendations to adopt on an item-by-item basis. Ford facilitates the decision-making process by recommending Go Green facility standards and helping with potential project evaluation. If a dealership decides to proceed with buying new technology, Ford helps them secure preferential pricing by negotiating pricing with national suppliers, using the company’s buying power.

Tools & Resources

The foundation of the Go Green Program is Ford’s comprehensive facility assessment. The formats of facility assessments and the resultant reports were developed using national expertise, along with that of selected consultants

Ford helps dealerships analyze and normalize their utility data to accurately track energy efficiency improvements. DOE will assist Ford by reviewing a sample set of energy data provided by dealerships, suggesting improvements to methodologies, and validating outcomes. DOE will also partner with Ford to provide joint recognition to those dealerships that achieve at least a 25% reduction in energy intensity. Ford will provide special recognition to dealerships that utilize renewable sources to meet at least 25% of their energy needs.

Measuring Success

Ford has found that one of the greatest challenges associated with this initiative is collecting and managing the data to measure the success of the energy improvements. The company moved from a spreadsheet-based system to a more sophisticated and professionally developed database once the volume of assessments increased.

Ford maintains the database to manage the information collected from Go Green facility assessments. This is no small task, as the program encompasses approximately 1,700 facilities across the country. The database is used to track energy consumption, record energy reductions from facility improvements, and track renewable energy use. For example, the Go Green Program compares annual utility bills before and after facility improvements and calculates the energy reduction for completed and committed improvements, normalizing for weather and changes in facility size.

The Go Green Program led to the identification of significant savings from the start. The first group of Go Green assessments for 270 participating dealerships led to the identification of a potential average annual savings of $33,000 for the average dealership. This equates to a 27% reduction in energy with a 3.5 year payback, on average, for each dealership.

Dealerships that upgrade their facility and achieve especially significant energy savings through adopting Go Green assessment recommendations will be eligible for recognition from Ford and DOE through the company’s Dealership Award Program, which has two categories:

  • Significant Energy Reduction: for dealerships that achieve at least a 25% reduction in annual energy usage through Go Green
  • Special Recognition – Exceptional Application of Renewable Energy: for dealerships that use renewable energy (solar, wind, and geothermal) for at least 25% of annual facility energy consumption


After starting with just three dealerships in 2010, the Go Green program includes approximately 1,700 dealerships today. That represents approximately half of all Ford dealerships in the United States. Nearly all of the dealerships that have received audits have identified significant potential savings with very good paybacks. The program continues to expand because of the multiple benefits it provides to both Ford and franchise dealerships. Ford is able to expand its commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability and share its energy efficiency expertise to important business partners. Dealerships get to utilize Ford’s technical support and purchasing power to reduce energy consumption, improve facility sustainability, save money, and earn recognition in the process.

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