Andrew Chiarelli’s original idea, from back when he started working at Motorcars Honda in 1995, was some kind of a roof to keep the lot from constantly getting buried by the heavy lake-effect snow that assails the Cleveland area each winter.
The culmination of that concept is a 335,000-watt solar canopy that has helped the store slash energy costs by nearly 80 percent and earn certification as the world’s first carbon-neutral car dealership. It has also increased business from eco-conscious consumers and attracted more applications from younger job candidates.
“We weren’t aiming for that at first, but once we started down the road, it kind of got ahold of us,” said Trevor Gile, managing partner of Motorcars Honda in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and son of owner Chuck Gile. “It’s really changed our whole business.”