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
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!
Theoretically the Audi S6 and S7 are more or less the same car. Both ride on the same chassis, both use the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine with 420-horsepower, and both route this power to all four wheels through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
Besides exterior style differences, it would seem not much differs between these two cars. Not true, say our friends at Autoblog.
Autoblog lists a variety of differences between the two cars, starting with the S7’s additional 110-pound weight penalty. Since most of this weight stems from additional structural enhancements as a result of the S7’s hatchback body style, Autoblog surmises that the S7 may have a slightly better distribution of weight compared to the more traditional S6 sedan. The S7 is also slightly wider and longer than the S6.
Answering the big question of which to purchase, Autoblog feels the slightly less expensive S6 is the mid-size Audi performance sedan to purchase – unless of course you need the practicality of the S7’s hatchback. To see the other ways that the S6 and S7 differ come into Audi Pacific and try them for yourself.
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.
Our friends at Automobile Magazine took the time to compile the most fuel-efficient performance cars available, and the Audi RS5 was deemed fuel efficient enough to be included. The list’s criterion for inclusion was simple: be equipped with an engine that makes at least 400 horsepower.
Audi’s 4.2-liter V8 engine exceeds the minimum horsepower requirement by 50. With 450 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque being routed to all four wheels through a 7-speed DSG transmission, the RS5 rips to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds. The very same quick-shifting transmission that helps the RS5 achieve such quick acceleration figures also helps the car achieve decidedly respectable fuel economy on the highway. A tall seventh-gear allows the RS5 to travel 100 kilometers on approximately 10.2 liters of fuel.
Yet the transmission doesn’t deserve all of the credit, as the race-inspired V8 engine works to provide surprisingly good fuel economy in the city as well, burning approximately 14.7 liters of fuel over the course of 100 kilometers.
Automobile Magazine admits the list is a bit of an oxymoron, as buyers looking for performance often don’t mix with those looking for fuel economy. Still, if this list does anything it provides hope to performance-minded enthusiasts entering fuel-economy obsessed future.
There are more powerful and fuel-efficient cars on Automobile’s list, but buyers will be hard-pressed to find another car with the combination of beauty, speed, luxury and raw performance the Audi RS5 offers. To view the rest of the list go to automobilemag.com, and visit us to learn more about the 2013 Audi RS5
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.
Sometimes two companies working together just makes sense. They think alike and have the same value set. So it is with Audi and LAcarGUY. And one result is your new LEED-rated Pacific Audi dealership…coming in November!
Thinking environmentally, or sustainably, can direct your energies to a number of important issues: from water conservation to recycling, from energy conservation to where a product goes at the end of its life. One of the best life-changing, and easy-to-read books for someone interested in learning more about the “lifecycle” of products is Cradle to Cradle; it focuses especially on how to change the entire concept of waste (of water, of energy, etc.), not at the END of a process, but in the initial design stages. It’s an eye-opening read.
This leads us also to our topic today. The new “Audi Terminal” design is the basis for our new dealership, and it was created by a team of architects and engineers in Germany (where Audi is based) to be an “ecologically intelligent, advanced construction method”.
The three pillars of sustainability are: ecology, economy and social responsibility. Audi loves to focus on the environment, especially through minimum ecological footprint and maximum efficiency…not a bad way to go! Their employees also behind these ideas, often doing things on their own time to walk the walk. Some examples:
- On Audi’s most important transportation route, they use green electricity in the transport of freight—not only saving CO2, but creating a demand for renewable energy within their country. They’ve even won an award for this!
- As part of their process chain, “packaging software” actually calculates optimal loading density for components, avoiding unnecessary transport due to waste of space (wouldn’t this have been helpful to us all when we had our friends help us move with multiple car trips?).
- Some of Audi’s employees also raise bees, clean lakes, protect birds, clean and restore plots of derelict pieces of land back to nature for enjoyment, and so forth. See the pages marked Passion in Audi’s current issue of their environment magazine called “Encounter”.
So, of course, this fits so well with LAcarGUY, which is always focused—with owner Mike Sullivan leading the way—on community and environmental causes. LAcarGUY has programs like:
- Battery Recycling: Interstate Battery handles the disposal of lead-acid batteries, which is strictly regulated by federal and state legislation, in an environmentally friendly way. They return spent batteries to EPA-approved smelters where the lead and plastic are recycled to make new batteries and products.
- Tire Recycling: Lakin Tire reuses tire materials in exciting new ways that benefit society, such as rubberized asphalt for roads and safe playground surfaces for children.
- Used Oil Recycling: Once Asbury Environmental Services picks up the oil, it’s taken to a refinery where the oil is removed by going through clarifying columns. Oil is treated for re-use as oil for ships (marine diesel fuel) and asphalt flux (blended into paving grade asphalt)!
- The “Driving Green” incentive program that donates to Heal the Bay, EMA, and Global Green.
- Explaining on their site really easily and clearly all the green car technologies!
You can keep up with our ongoing green initiatives HERE.
So when the chance came to team up with Audi on their new Terminal design…we were right there! Having our own local team of architects, GC and many others…we’ve been working toward meshing their design with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED building system, and we’re pretty excited to be just about there.
We’ve even, just recently, gotten solar energy approved to add to our building!
So this is what we mean when we say “a match made in environmental heaven”. The manufacturer (Audi) already is thinking—from design stages to delivery—how to make their system more environmentally conscious (especially because they are a car company). And then they team with a distributor like LAcarGUY who thinks like we do, and how everything we do affects the community they we part of.
Strategic Vision recently announced the results of its 2012 Total Quality Index (TQI) study which measures how closely the experience of quality matches the expectations of the customer. Lead by the top-scoring Audi A8 Sedan, the Volkswagen Group has taken top honors in the latest Strategic Vision TQI survey. All aspects of the experience of buying, owning, and driving a vehicle, not just a measure of things gone wrong, interact to form an overall impression on the customer. That overall experience includes the emotional response the vehicle elicits, as well as its tangible attributes and factors such as reliability.
While the Luxury Car segment-leading Audi A8 achieved a TQI score of 942 (the highest on the list), the Audi A4 scored 917, earning honors as the best near-luxury car. The Volkswagen Golf earned top honors in the Small Multi-Function segment, racking up 874 points in the process. Even Volkswagen’s oft-overlooked convertible, the Eos, scored 902 points, enough to win the convertible category. The automaker’s compact crossover, the Tiguan, garnered 877 points to win the Entry Utility category.
According to Strategic Vision, the real message is that innovation is connected to perceptions of quality. If innovation is strong, especially such that customers can say they “love it,” when referring to the product, then perceptions of quality will be greatly (positively) influenced. Strategic Vision research has proven that those who recognize and acknowledge innovation (most new car buyers) will purchase, and not just be driven by counting problems. With all manufacturers being in such close traditional quality proximity (counting problems only), there is little question that those car manufacturers who offer rich and impactful, intuitively designed cars will have the advantage going into the future.
Read Strategic Vision’s press release for a complete list of segment winners.
Sure we’d all like to have an Audi R8 as our daily driver, and for a select few, they can, but for the rest of us, who live in the world of kids, life, family budgets, etc., that doesn’t mean you can’t have a car that is brilliant to drive, in fact one that is a benchmark in the industry, a very high quality interior and has style above reproach. The all new Audi A4 and S4‘s are the cars for those of us who need four doors and trunks that can swallow a run to Costco, yet provide all the driving dynamics you want and expect from a German luxury sports sedan.
Come and see what the all new A4 and S4 are all about with Pacific Audi’s General Sales Manager Chris Prodromides.
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!