BELGIUM: Toyota dealers get back to grass roofs

By just-auto.com editorial team | 9 July 2008

Toyota is urging its dealers to go green - so green that grass will grow on the roof.

The company wants all its 3,000 dealers in Europe to meet a 2015 target and is to apply ambitious environmental standards to new and existing outlets.

The first two 'sustainable retailers' will be trialled in Sweden and France as a business case for eco-friendly design and construction.

Toyota Motor Europe said it would target new builds and full refurbishments to achieve widespread cuts in energy use, water consumption and CO2 emissions.

Improvements to existing retailers would reduce CO2 emissions by up to 12%, and from next year, TME would establish up to 60 sustainable retailers annually.

One of the pilot dealers in Malmö, Sweden, an existing retailer, will undergo a full refurbishment, which includes a grass roof that will act as a natural cooling system in the summer months. This and other eco-friendly measures are set to halve the dealer's carbon footprint, saving up to EUR135,000 in annual operating costs.

At Toyota's new dealer in La Rochelle, France, solar panels on parking lot roofs will generate up to 200,000 kWh of energy per year to ensure the building is fully CO2-neutral.

TME vice president Andrea Formica said: "How we design, build and operate the buildings in which we work, has a significant impact on our environmental footprint. We are committed to ensuring that not only our products, but our entire operations work in greater harmony with the environment. Every Toyota retailer will take active steps to reduce its impact on the environment."

Existing buildings, which are not being refurbished, will also contribute to the green programme. Toyota recently completed a pilot programme at three dealers in Germany that achieved CO2 savings of up to 12% via small, every-day improvements.