LaFontaine Automotive Group, a dealership based in Dexter, MI, hired two firms to upgrade its facility for energy efficiency and cost savings – and as a method to market its environmentally responsible credentials. GridNavigator, a provider of an intelligent energy management system, and Bloom General Contracting, a construction management firm, have a partnership to promote green buildings to GM dealerships throughout the US. LaFontaine is their first joint customer.

A promotional video tells the story of why this established dealership brought in GridNavigator and Bloom – to make the building's energy consumption much more efficient through smart, integrated technologies, saving a whopping $60,000 a year on its energy bill and providing customers with the message that LaFontaine Automotive is a place that takes care of the environment. Customers are shown the GridNavigator display board that demonstrates how the facility's energy is managed for energy efficiency optimization. The dealership has been improved by adding LED lighting and an efficient heating and air conditioning system, as you can see in the video below.

The Chevrolet Volt is shown throughout the video, though it's never once mentioned by anyone interviewed. It does suggest that making a dealership Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified and energy efficient is a logical way to market products like the Volt. It makes sales that much easier, according to Robert Halfacre, sales consultant at LaFontaine. "The sales process here at LaFontaine starts from the moment the customer walks in the front door," Halfacre says in the video. "We use this building to sell cars."

Ryan LaFontaine, owner of the dealer group, appreciates the energy cost savings and how making these changes has been strengthening marketing and customer relationships. "The initial investment in energy upgrades has paid for itself in marketing exposure alone and allows us to align our brand with today's energy- and environment-conscious buyers," he says.

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GM Dealerships Embrace Green Building to Align Brands with Hybrid and Electric Car Sales Efforts

Energy efficient showrooms with GridNavigator energy management systems appeal to environment- and energy-conscious customers

REDMOND, Wash. and DETROIT–(November 1, 2012)–GridNavigator, provider of an intelligent energy management system (EMS), and Bloom General Contracting, a premier full-service construction management firm, today announced a partnership to promote green building to GM auto dealerships throughout the U.S. and their first joint customer, LaFontaine Automotive Group.

As auto manufacturers increase their mix of energy efficient vehicles, dealers are aligning their brands with their products by designing and building greener showrooms. Design for LEED certification combined with the GridNavigator EMS provide a long-term advantage by maintaining energy efficiency over the life of the building by continually optimizing energy usage across advanced LED lighting, HVAC, and renewable energy systems. In addition, the energy and environmental savings can be broadcast real-time to the dealer showroom in a customer-friendly display.

"With a strong commitment to green building, auto dealers can connect with customers, control energy costs and differentiate their brand," said Alan Bloom, chairman and CEO, Bloom General Contracting. "The LaFontaine Automotive Group is a trailblazer in green auto dealerships and is recognizing the benefits of being a leader."

LaFontaine Automotive Group Establishes Green Dealership Lead

Bloom General Contracting's most recent installation of the turnkey GridNavigator EMS is at LaFontaine's Dexter, Michigan facility. The installation includes GridNavigator's lux sensors, which control interior lights and allow use of daylighting to reduce energy demands; smart equipment controls; and intraday forecasting analytics that automatically optimize rooftop heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units. The aggregate savings are shown real time in the LaFontaine showroom on a customer-friendly GridNavigator energy kiosk. Dealerships can also choose to manually control their lighting and HVAC systems by changing settings through a web-based application via a smart phone or tablet computer.

"Our green dealership saves us $60,000 per year in energy costs and has strengthened our customer relationships," said Ryan LaFontaine, owner, LaFontaine Automotive Group. "The initial investment in energy upgrades has paid for itself in marketing exposure alone and allows us to align our brand with today's energy- and environment-conscious buyers."

"Educating customers on energy efficiency opportunities for our businesses, homes and communities supports the sales process of fuel efficient vehicles," said Mary Alice Kurtz, program manager, Facility Sustainability Initiatives, GM. "By purposefully integrating sustainability into our showrooms, we help our customers to better understand our energy alternatives, advanced technologies and our ongoing commitment to a more sustainable future."

The cloud-based GridNavigator EMS is a combination of a smart network of lighting and HVAC control systems connecting multiple energy endpoints across different facilities. The data from the endpoints is communicated back to the remote GridNavigator data center and intraday energy forecast engine for continuous remote monitoring, controlling and optimizing. GridNavigator also used the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark each dealership, an initial step in the ENERGY STAR certification process.

"Our low-cost EMS is a strong sales enabler for auto dealers," said Al Cabrini, CEO, GridNavigator. "Our partnership with Bloom General Contracting will continue to deliver premier green building solutions to the auto dealer market."

GridNavigator is focused on mid-market customers with distributed facilities across campuses or regions. GridNavigator is a value-added reseller (VAR) and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner of Echelon Corporation, an energy control networking company with the world's most widely deployed proven, open standard, multi-application platform, LonWorks.

About Bloom

Alan Bloom founded Bloom General Contracting, Inc. in 1985 and has since turned the company into a premier full-service construction management firm, specializing in auto dealership construction. Our expert team has successfully completed over 400 customized construction projects. The professional staff at Bloom stands ready to implement a comprehensive construction program designed to guide your project from concept to completion. More information is available at

About GridNavigator

GridNavigator is a leading provider of intelligent energy management systems (EMS) for commercial & industrial applications. It offers the industry's first intraday energy forecasting service. The company was founded in 2009 and has customers in the education, government, property management and healthcare sectors. More information is available at

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Echelon and LonWorks are registered trademarks of Echelon Corporation registered in the United States and other countries. GridNavigator is a registered trademark of GridNavigator Inc. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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