Well, Audi Pacific has been open now for almost 2 weeks, and it’s all very fresh and new! We are about to have our Grand Opening…so we really hope you come and check us out, from the building, to the cars, of course. But for this blog, we’ll stick to being excited about the building!
Walking around the new space, the first word that comes to mind is … BIG. It’s really big. I could easily come up with more to describe the place, but you’ve been reading us for 7+ months now. Wouldn’t you rather hear about the experience of being in the building from those who are actually there every day? We thought so…
Joe, Sales Manager: “The building is just so much nicer to do business in. It’s big, airy and well lit. With all the windows, and especially lit up at night, you can’t not look at our building! And you know how in most new places you notice the new paint smell? I didn’t realize it until now, but there is none because of the green materials.”
Adam, Service Consultant: “It’s a better atmosphere. There are a number of ‘cold’ materials like stone and metal, but it’s really inviting and has a great urban feel. My favorite thing is having a view of the trees and garden outside; I don’t feel as claustrophobic as in our old building.”
Chris, Assistant Service Manager: “In my opinion, the building promotes the same sporty, luxurious feeling that one of our cars does.”
Juana, Cashier: “We changed to greener soaps and cleaning supplies. I really notice the difference.”
Angel, Audi Brand Specialist: “Aside from being ten times bigger [than our last space], it’s nice to just have a modern, green, beautiful building. It’s like I have a small hand in having made the building, just because I’ve been here a few years!”
Chris P., GSM: “The Audi experience redefined.”
We also wanted to share with you a couple comments from those behind the wheel, so to speak, making this building what it was meant to be:
Fred A. Lopez, Sauers Lopez Construction (GC): “We first started this project knowing that it would be a LEED certified. Understanding the day-to-day function of the facility, as well as the LAcarGUY vision for its employees and the planet, pushed us to achieve a Gold LEED building. We’re really proud this facility will now function for the benefit of the employees and the owners.”
Rudy De La O, LEED AP, Project Facilitator, Whitfield Associates (Architect): “The project is a result of owner responsibility, general contractor leadership, and design team diligence. We assumed the challenge and fulfilled an opportunity with a real holistic approach, everyone working together from the start. Let’s do it again!”
A few reminders:
➢ Come by the showroom and check out our Interactive Kiosk to learn about our LEED Gold-certified green building.
➢ While visiting, pick up a “Green Living Guide” for the area that will be a great takeaway!
➢ Feel free to go back through our last 17 posts and learn read about (with links to references) different aspects of our building, but also actions that are transferable to your own business or home!
➢ Keep learning and asking questions and then taking action on living more sustainably!
Audi Celebrates Grand Opening of Audi Pacific First LEED Certified Dealership that Features Largest Audi Showroom in U.S.
LAcarGUY’s new dealership in Torrance, CA will be among the greenest; features the largest Audi showroom in the U.S. showcasing 17 models
Audi of America, in coordination with LAcarGUY, will celebrate the grand opening of the newly redesigned Audi Pacific dealership on Tuesday, November 27. The new dealership will become the largest Audi showroom in the U.S. showcasing 17 models and is the first to be LEED Gold certified incorporating a state-of-the-art design with environmental technology aimed at improving energy efficiency, reducing water usage, as well as promoting the reuse and recycling of materials and waste. The new location marks one of 11 dealerships within the LAcarGUY family, headed by Mike Sullivan.
“Audi remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing green technology and environmentally responsible business practices,” said Mike Cagle, Director, Western Region for Audi of America. “Through the opening of Audi Pacific, we not only celebrate the largest Audi showroom in the United States, but also take great pride in achieving LEED Gold certification.”
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification process promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess the sustainability of a building’s design, construction and operations. To meet LEED Gold certification, the Audi Pacific dealership features energy efficient water fixtures, low energy use lighting and a 45 kilowatt (kW) DC Solar PV system.
The owner of Audi Pacific and President of LAcarGUY, Mike Sullivan has been in the car business for over 45 years and also serves on the board of Heal The Bay and the Environmental Media Association as well as the Regional Board of Directors for Global Green USA. Having owned this Audi franchise since October of 1999, Sullivan became the first to build an Audi Hangar in California. To continue his encouragment in the adoption of electric vehicles, LAcarGUY recently became the first automotive dealer in the country to offer electric charging stations open to the public at four of its dealerships.
“The LAcarGUY family of dealerships has long been committed to promoting sustainable, greener business operations and supporting environmental initiatives,” said Sullivan. “Our new Audi Pacific dealership facility exemplifies our leadership and focus on ecology, economy and social responsibility across the board.”
General Manager and LAcarGUY business partner Jeff LaPlant will oversee the newly redesigned space which has expanded from 14,000 to 45,000 square feet allowing the dealership to better serve their customers with the expanded capacity and convenience within a compelling environment. The new dealership also follows the new Audi “terminal” design, an ecologically advanced construction method promoted by the Audi’s parent company in Germany. The structure makes an impressive architectural statement on Hawthorne Boulevard, with bold signage and an open two-story showroom, as well as 22 service bays showcasing the brand’s latest collection of luxury vehicles.
“Audi Pacific is very proud to be the first LEED Gold certified dealership for the Audi brand,” said LaPlant. “Environmental stewardship is very much in line with Audi Pacific’s overall business philosophy, commitment to exceptional and award-winning customer service, as well as focus on selling some of the most innovative, quality-engineered luxury products on the market today.”
Audi of America maintains a regional office, two technical facilities and a design center in California to better identify with and service the state’s strategically vital and diverse market. Since 2011, sales in the area have increased by 21.9% and represent 19.2% of total U.S. sales. Other noteworthy accomplishments for Audi in California include an increase in IHG market share from 5.56% in 2006 to 10.1% in 2012, effectively doubling the brand’s presence in the state. The Audi Pacific dealership opening marks the brand’s continued expansion and strong presence in the Southern California market.
We’ve put together a great slide show of pictures of the new store which you can view here
Audi Pacific‘s new home, a LEED® Gold certified facility and the largest Audi showroom in the country is now open. It’s been a long and rewarding process to see this vision come to life.
We’ve put together a time lapse video of the construction so that you can see where we started, and the final finished product!
If you haven’t had a chance, please stop in and see our new home, and the level of detail we went to, to make sure your Audi experience is second to none.
Believe it or not, we open this month! We’re excited and hope you are, too. But we’re still not done sharing our building process with you…because you know education never really ends. We have a couple more of these building-specific posts, and then…there’s going to be very cool information housed in our showroom, and useful takeaways for you!
In our last post, we explained similarities and differences between the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) vs. the State’s CALGreen building code, the nation’s 1st green building code. We noted that LEED provided a basis for ‘leading’ CALGreen into existence and practice. And one of the similarities was “Building Fundamental Commissioning”.
OK, so that’s a mouthful, and yes, it’s not a sexy-sounding topic. But we’re pretty proud of it, and hope you’ll be duly impressed. Actually we are getting two extra LEED points on in the “Energy & Atmosphere” category because of it…kind of like a “gold star” on our homework.
Building Commissioning means a certified independent 3rd party “Commissioner” oversees the design of systems—like HVAC, lighting and thermostat controls, etc.—and the installation. At the basic level, he/she can join a project halfway through design completion and make some suggestions. This is the basic requirement for both LEED and CALGreen.
But that wasn’t good enough for us. Oh no! We brought the Commissioner in early, during conceptual design, for what is called “enhanced commissioning”: reviewing contractor submittals for systems, attending design meetings, and coordinating & supervising different manuals and procedures.
Then to add to our group of technical experts, we asked Southern California Edison to join our preliminary design meetings and iron out our plans alongside the Commissioner, architect, and systems engineers. (Remember how we’re ‘grid tied’?)
Now after we move in to the building, the process isn’t over!
- A few months into use, the Commissioner comes back to make sure systems are still performing as planned and everyone is happy.
- Six to eight months in, the building owner will survey occupants to see if we are still comfortable with our workspace. Wow!
By the way did we also mention our clean housekeeping program? Audi Pacific will be cleaned by Contract Service Group, which has earned the CIMS-Green Building certification (authorized by US Green Building Council), and uses green cleaning products and practices. We can’t stop…we designed the building to be friendly to the environment AND the people that use it…and it’s all part of LAcarGUY’s long term vision for occupant satisfaction.
One more thing… We are going to have some really useful and informative information in the showroom. An interactive kiosk will explain multiple aspects of our LEED Gold-certified green building, and we hope you come in and check it out. It’s quite in-depth and fun! Additionally, we are finishing up a “Green Living Guide” for the area that will be a great takeaway for anyone. It includes information on green spaces (parks, wetlands) to visit nearby, ideas on reuse, City recycling info, green buildings to check out, transportation options, farmer’s markets, and organizations to get involved in that support sustainability.
As we said…we just can’t (and don’t want to) stop. And we hope you feel the same about wanting to find out more!
So as you know by now, LAcarGUY and Audi Pacific chose to create a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green building, and great news is …we expect to hit the Gold level!
Now you may be asking yourself if the State of California has any such green building code, or is building green only elective through the U.S. Green Building Council’s point-based LEED system? And you’d be right to ask! With California wasting water through water leaks( 12%) , flushing (28%), and landscape (50%)…the State knew it address this and many other building issues! In our last post, we explained similarities and differences between the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) vs. the State’s CALGreen building code, the nation’s 1st green building code.
In 2010, the State did, in fact, create the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code, otherwise known as the CALGreen Code – the nation’s 1st green building code (we ARE California, so of course we are first!). To get a little technical and if you want to find it, it is Part 11 of the California Building Standards Code in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.
The independent commission that created this at the Governor’s directive consulted with agencies from the Energy Commission and Dept. of Water Resources, to organizations like Green Globes, CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) and the USGBC. This code is for all of California and became mandatory for all new building design and construction as of Jan. 1, 2011.
So how to select which plan to go with? There are obviously some similarities and differences, and yes, they can both deal with residential and commercial buildings…so check up on it for your goals!
In Audi Pacific’s situation (new commercial building), there are two specific similarities between LEED and CALGreen:
- Both require 20% mandatory reduction in water fixtures over a specified baseline.
- Both require at least 50% of non-hazardous construction and demo debris to be recycled and/or salvaged, which Audi Pacific blew away with 95%!!!
- Both require an independent 3rd party to oversee systems design and installation (called Building Fundamental Commissioning).
As for notable differences (again, for our kind of building):
- LEED has multiple rating systems for specific building types and use; CALGreen hopes to capture all types and uses with one overall code.
- CALGreen is California law, but jurisdictions have wide discretion on how to enforce it; LEED (for the most part) is more strict, less discretion.
- A prerequisite to participate for LEED certification is 10% savings over baseline annual energy cost; zero improvement over baseline for basic CALGreen.
- LEED requires preferred parking for low-emission/fuel efficient vehicles CALGreen does not.
- LEED is a voluntary point-based system to earn a certification, and CALGreen has one level of mandatory measures, then there are extra voluntary levels.
In general, CALGreen used the most basic level of LEED certification as a model, and then added in some elements of another system that is an option, or guide, for green building, called Build It Green (or GreenPoint Rated). California is truly lucky to have the nation’s first mandatory green building code, and it will continue to get stronger. The LEED certification has been around much longer, and so, has a lot more options for higher levels of “greenness” and different kinds of buildings.
When someone starts talking “green building”, quite often the first thing on people’s minds is “oh, so you’re using solar panels, right?” As you can see, we’ve done a lot of other things first that already will minimize the energy use. And this is a very positive way to approach a green building. Why? Because once you’ve done all the other things you can think of to minimize energy, THEN you can look at the solar idea and have a better sense of how much solar power you realistically need to generate – and it’ll usually be a fair amount less than if you had decided that solar was your first and only thought to energy use and savings.
So, here we are and now we are getting into our solar focus.
For you techies out there, Pacific Audi will be using a 45 kilowatt (kW) DC Solar PV system which will be grid-tied and connect to the Main service electric meter at Southern California Edison (SCE). “Grid-tied” is a term everyone should be aware of, because it’s just so darn logical! Being “grid-tied” is a fantastic way to collect, store and give back to the great energy pot we all pull from at different times of day, and it can save the solar owner (who is generating energy!) money on their electricity bill.
One of the driving trends in the solar industry, according to Trini Solar’s site is increasing the overall value of solar modules by increasing the amount of energy generated per area required.
The Trini system we have selected is called (191) 240w panels. The panels have a low tilt angle under 5 degrees, which has been calculated as the orientation for maximum tilt angle in order to capture maximum sun rays. Of course, the angle can change by season – i.e. summer vs. winter. And the panels face south at 180 degrees, because true “solar south” is the optimal direction for maximizing the power output of your PV solar panels (get your compass out!). (Some scientific details HERE.)
We’re pretty darn excited because our solar array will provide an estimated over 16% of annualized energy cost savings ($13,645). Can you believe it? Now that’s a chunk of change!
Then, the amount of annual energy we’ll generate is 64,980 kwh…and as discussed above, we’ll be tied in to the SCE grid, and thereby sharing this generated energy.
And yes, back to that LEED-rating we are doing! This solar addition qualities us for seven (7) LEED points for “onsite reviewable energy”; and, 1 point for exemplary performance. Not bad, eh? What does “exemplary performance” mean here? It’s like that extra gold star on your math homework, and in this case it is granted if a project will provide over 15% of annualized energy cost savings through an outside energy source…which we are doing!
As noted in our last post about Audi’s and LAcarGUY’s green focus, the three pillars of sustainability are: ecology, economy and social responsibility. With our cost and energy savings (and energy generation back to the grid), we continue to focus on these goals.
We Southern Californians love our outdoors. We always want the landscaping to be attractive, creative and have greenery. For a long time, being “green” in one’s landscape immediately made people think of ‘blah’ desert plants, no (color) green, no flowers and no grass. But it ain’t so!
Sustainable landscapes have come SO far, and encouraged learning about the native plants in our region that DO have color and are fun, and often even perform tasks in the garden. The last part is called “performative landscaping” and that will be seen in the newly-renovated exterior at the Natural History Museum…go check it out next year when it opens, you’ll be amazed and inspired!
For our purposes, however, our landscaper kept it simple and attractive, and this is easily done at your own home. Obviously the big concern with landscaping is …water! So it’s good to attack from two points – the plants, and how the plants are watered.
There are low-water, drought-tolerant plants and medium-water plants that we are using:
- Dwarf Coyote Brush is a low-growing ground cover with tiny white flowers (low water)
- Gazanias look like daisies, and is a low-growing ground cover flowering plant (low water) – you’ve probably seen them on freeways. These are being used as a pretty accent at our entrance!
- California Fan Palms is actually a low water palm tree…so have fun with it!
- Brisbane Box is also a low water tree, and you’ll see a lot of it along Hawthorne Blvd.
- Daylilies will also be used as accents at entryways (medium water)
- Korean Grass. OK yes we are using grass (always a big discussion in sustainable landscaping), but I told you the options are so much more interesting now! This grass is rolling tufty grass, but non-mowable! And while most grass options use a lot of water, this one is considered ‘medium’ in its water needs.
Maintenance: In addition to being mostly low water usage, these plants are also low maintenance. Our landscaper selected items that will be same the height as when she plants them (so no height pruning) and also free form in shape (which is so natural!). And did I say the grass doesn’t need to be mowed? (Feeling the desire to replace your own?) And the fertilizer being used: Organic.
THE IRRIGATION SYSTEM:
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED point system doesn’t apply directly (other ideas are being played with) to landscaping, however, the idea of Water Efficiency is one of five major credits categories! Remember our storm water post from May 17? So, we’ll be getting some LEED credits through the irrigation system which uses Landscape Drip products from Netafim and bubblers from Rainbird that can adjust the amount of water that feeds either shrubs (less), or the trees (more). What’s also great is that Netafim’s system is “subsurface” or below ground, so people won’t trip over any tubing, and there’s no water wasted flying in the wind, nor spraying the sidewalk OR the cars!
We’re also quite excited about an alternate water-saving idea. You know how A/C systems can have that extra water, or byproduct? Well, we’ll have that atop our roof, but we’ll be diverting it to irrigate plants along one side of our building (Spencer St.)! It’ll kind of be its own system, with separate valve and emittors, and so the Netafim irrigation system (which will also cover this area) can be cut back when we have the extra water waste from the roof! This has been done at a few other dealerships…and we’re proud to be one!
Let’s go inside our buildings this week, shall we? It’s time for floors and ceilings, and that continues a topic we’ve mentioned a couple times, but is one of the most important, and most addressable, parts of building green: Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs.
As noted in the last post, Volatile Organic Compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids in a wide array of products, and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Besides wall-coverings, floors and ceilings have historically been big offenders.
Out of the gate, we want to let you know that our building will meet the LEED criteria for VOCs under the “Low-Emitting Materials” sections for Adhesives & Sealants, Flooring Systems, and of course, Paints & Coatings (last post).
From concrete, tile (ceramic, porcelain and stone) and wood used to the adhesive sealants, grout and architectural applications and finishes…we are right on track with LEED VOC requirements! We’re pretty excited about our variety of cool flooring and thought we’d share just a few because these are things you could also consider for your own work or home:
- InterfaceFlor, which produces carpeting, may well be a company you’ve heard of prior. Founder/CEO Ray Anderson was a revolutionary in deciding to make his company much more responsible beginning in 1994. Carpeting was traditionally extremely toxic – from how it was created to how it was installed – off-gassing a lot, emitting VOCs and being a main contributor to “sick building syndrome”. Ray took it upon himself to change his and his company’s behavior, and show that they could be environmentally responsible and still profitable. He made the business case for sustainability and in the process, changed an entire industry. So we’re proud to be using an Interface product in a chic Charcoal color. Green Label Plus Certified, their materials can really impact Indoor Air Quality.
- Porcelain tile Fiandre in Silver is another beautiful product we’ll be using! Fiandre is an environmentally progressive porcelain tile manufacturer, and more and more such companies are changing their processes to be more sustainable. Fiandre in 2003 even constructed a new facility in Tennessee using state-of-the-art environmental technology that ensured a sustainable manufacturing process right from the plant’s opening. More HERE.
- Germany’s Bergland-Parkett’s wood flooring can be seen in Audi showrooms and offices worldwide (remember, Audi is German!). The company’s environmental philosophy and actions include use of modern, low emission trucks and short-distance transport, 100% toxic-free product, ecological finishes, and raw material bought from PEFC controlled forests. We can’t wait to see it installed right here in Hawthorne!
- Now who thinks of the ‘foot grille’ at the entrance? We use it to wipe our feet. We’re using Ultra Entry which is 30% pre-consumer recycled vinyl with nylon. But think of what it does. When we enter our homes/offices, everything on the bottom of our shoes is carried in—from plain old dirt, to toxins. If you can’t take off your shoes (kind of silly if you are in a business), then it’s really important to scrape off well as much debris and moisture as possible.
In the showroom our ceiling is going to be simple, elegant tiles that contain no VOCs and recycled content of 23%. And in our service area, a truss ceiling (see picture), very open design. We hope you check EVERYTHING out closely when you come in!
View the construction progress of Pacific Audi’s brand new LEED Certified Dealership in Torrance, CA. The building is scheduled to be completed November 2012. It will feature the largest Audi showroom in the country.