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UK: New Honda outlet uses 30% less energy

By just-auto.com editorial team | 11 August 2008

Global car distribution and retail group Inchcape has opened a new energy efficient Honda dealership in Romford, Essex, that uses about 30% less energy thanks to measures such as recycling rain water and using ground source heating pumps and solar power to heat water.

The dealership also features Honda's new corporate identity for its European network with new interior design, improved signs and distinctive exterior appearance.

"We aimed to create a clean, uncluttered showroom to ensure the car is always the star," said Honda (UK) network development chief Phil Crossman. "We want buying a car to be an enjoyable experience. There are only 12 cars on display in the showroom, and with the extra space, the atmosphere is more relaxed for customers."

Typically, showrooms this size with similar large glazed areas would be air conditioned, using an electrically-powered central refrigeration unit to cool and circulate air. But the new Inchcape site uses low level ventilation louvres around the edge of the showroom and high level, chimney-style ventilation terminals mounted on the roof of the building.

Wind pressure then draws air through the showroom, up through the roof terminals using a 'stack effect', creating comfortable working conditions without the carbon emissions that would normally be associated with electrically-powered air conditioning.

The system is fully automated, with the vents opening slightly during warm summer evenings to pre cool the building, and opening and closing depending on both the internal and external temperature and air quality.

Showroom heating comes courtesy of ground energy from nine 75-metre bore holes beneath the car park. The heat energy is converted to 40 degrees C, ideally suited to the under-floor heating system which is laid beneath the entire showroom, corridors and toilet areas of the ground floor. The system can also be used to cool the floor slightly in the warmer summer months, assisting the natural ventilation.

The Romford site also 'harvests' roof rain water in a tank buried behind the showroom. After UV filtration treatment this 'grey' water is clean enough for washing cars.

Elsewhere, solar power is used to heat water using evacuated tube panels on the main roof and circulating heat into a secondary coil of the main hot water cylinder.

"These environmentally-friendly developments combine to create one of the greenest car dealerships around," Honda (UK) said.