No matter which side of the whole Tonight Show host debacle you were on, you still secretly love Jay Leno for his extensive car and motorcycle collection, right? Moreover, you gotta admire his support of green car technologies from plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles like the Aptera and the Chevrolet Volt, respectively, to the turbine-powered, biodiesel-slurping EcoJet Supercar. Well, here's another reason to love the patron saint of automobiles. Jay's garage, made famous by the website we drool over every lunch break, jaylenosgarage.com, has some serious green credentials, even by California standards.

The vision to green his Big Dog Garage, four adjacent structures that total over 25,000 square feet and contain more than 300 cars and motorcycles, started back in 2006 when Jay decided to install solar panels, 270 of them to be exact, followed by a wind turbine. Then, like with any good restoration, project creep started to set in. "We just started to get into it. It's like anything else; you become competitive and try to figure out ways to become more and more efficient." And boy, has the Big Dog Garage done that in spades. "My electric bills have dropped by three-quarters," says Leno. And on fall days, when the sun beats down and the Santa Ana winds blow, the Big Dog Garage turns into Plant Leno, selling green power back to the California electric grid.

Jay's commitment to greening the garage doesn't stop at energy consumption. Aerosol cans full of brake or carb cleaner are gone. In their places is a compressed air tank resembling a propane tank for a backyard grill. "Basically," Leno said, "you fill it with compressed air and put your cleaners in it and use the same one over and over again, so you're not throwing away 15 or 20 cans that have propellant in them." Even the clean-up is cleaner at Jay's garage. Jay and his small army of techs use waterless hand cleaners instead of washing their hands in the shop sinks, rinsing chemicals down the drain and into the city's water system. Leno admits that a lot has happened in the car world in his lifetime. And thank goodness most of it has been for the greener. Jay explained conventional eco-wisdom when he was a kid: "If you take the oil and you dig a hole and pour it into the ground, it goes back into the earth where it came from"

Read the full article and check out some pics of the garage here. Also, if you don't know what a Superfund site is, click here and be terrified.

[Source: AutoWeek | Image: dodge challenger1 - C.C. 2.0]


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