Auto West BMW makes large eco-investment

Auto West BMW
Auto West BMW's Pete Sargent sits atop the Richmond dealership's roof, which includes gardens and solar panels.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel

For the makers of the Ultimate Driving Machine, Auto West BMW is doing the corporate equivalent of adding Ultimate Green Machine to its moniker.

A $2-million investment into eco-friendly design features at its signature dealership, at the corner of Cambie and Shell roads, was topped off with the recent addition of a vertical axis wind turbine.

It’s billed as a B.C. commercial first.

Auto West director Pete Sargent believes reducing the dealership’s impact on the environment, and living more harmoniously with Mother Nature, are part and parcel of the company’s efforts to be good corporate citizens.

From the road, the wind turbine might be the most noticeable green feature, but it’s certainly not the only one.

In fact, the bulk of the eco-investment is almost entirely hidden from view, coming in the form of a geothermal heating and cooling system, with dozens of pipes digging deep into the earth to draw up warmth during the winter, and cool relief from the heat in the summer.

A series of rooftop solar panels also generates electricity, and combined with the juice generated by the wind turbine, feed power into the electrical grid which offsets a significant chunk of the cost of power consumed by the sizeable facility.

The green theme continues in the washing bay, where the use of water to keep vehicles shiny and clean is reused.

Soapy and dirty water from the cleaning operation is filtered and then stored in two 1,500 gallon tanks and utilized again.

On the roof, there’s a green oasis, with fruits grown in gardens, and pollinated courtesy a 100,000-strong army of bees that call a handful of artificial beehives home. The green theme is made complete with a rooftop composter.

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