ABRA Auto Body & Glass
Photo courtesy Keenan Auto Body
SHOP: Keenan Auto Body, an ABRA Company (formerly Keenan Auto Body Repair)
LOCATION: Middletown, Del. OPERATOR: Mike LeVasseur, market VP for ABRA
SIZE: 20,000 square feet STAFF: 15 ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.95 million
Due to the massive size of the shop—20,000 square feet— and the electric bill to go along with it, the former Keenan Auto Body facility in Middletown, Del., made the decision to become more sustainable and changed the way the shop was powered.
In 2009, when state and federal grants became available, Keenan Auto Body, acquired by ABRA Auto Body & Glass in May, took advantage and went green. The solar installation, although a big change for the shop, did not disrupt the interior much at all. The panels were installed and inverters were put in the back of the building by Wise Power Systems. Since then, it has been business as usual. The shop is now solar-powered by 248 crystalline panels.
Solar energy accounts for 65 percent of the shop’s power (while in operation) and has significantly decreased both its energy bill and carbon footprint. Using this technology, the shop is able to sell renewable energy credits (RECs) back to the energy company. The estimated ROI was five years; it ended up taking just about three.
1) The 64 panel pole mounts and 184 panels in the back make it the largest solar install of its kind in Delaware.
2) Inside, a TV monitor sits above the reception desk and shows exactly how much energy is being produced by the sun at any given time. The staff can monitor the solar rate and get a visual of how much power is saved throughout the day using the solar panels.
3) The shop doesn’t stop its sustainability efforts at solar panels. The shop currently is working toward going paperless and recycles everything possible. This includes cardboard, sheet metal and batteries. Oil and antifreeze are sent out to be recycled. The shop’s green initiative has won the EPA’s Design for the Environment Best Practices in Collision Repair certification.
4) The shop has a waterborne paint system and the Junair paint booths have quads inside. The quads move extra air through the booth, which is essential when drying the PPG Envirobase waterborne paint.
5) The bright and open lobby can seat up to 12 people and includes a TV, magazines, free WiFi and complimentary drinks, including coffee and soda.
6) The shop has two conference rooms with one upstairs serving as a training center for the staff. The room is used for staff meetings, networking events, company functions and I-CAR meetings. The room has a large TV and a kitchen, making it ideal to host special events for the press or local government constituents.
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