Utility Incentives in Action

The Gary Force Toyota dealership is an outstanding example of how LED upgrades make a big difference.


Established in 1973, family-owned Gary Force Toyota is part of three award-winning auto dealerships that include Gary Force Honda and Gary Force Acura. Backed by years of business experience, owners Gary Force and Dave and Matt Stumbo possess a creative tenacity that has resulted in some of the most successful auto dealerships in the area and have received the Residual Value Award and the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

As a Bowling Green, Ky.-based business, Gary Force Toyota is committed to not only providing the best customer service, but also to incorporating sustainable products into the dealerships because sustainability pays back in so many ways.

Exterior Luminaires

As a long-established business, the owners and management team knew they could make a strong environmental statement while also attracting customers. Car dealership lots use a tremendous amount of energy and install many lighting fixtures to illuminate the cars outside at night.

Gary Force Toyota sits on a two-acre lot with a 210-car inventory and a 20,000-sq.-ft. showroom and repair shop. The dealership recently replaced 63 1,000-watt metal halide fixtures in the exterior lot with 63 240-watt LED luminaires. The dealership also replaced six 250-watt metal halide wall packs with six 60-watt LED wall packs.

The impetus for the LED retrofit was the dramatic energy savings. Previously, the dealership was spending almost $30,000 annually on utility costs; however, with the new luminaires, those energy costs will be reduced to just $6, 619. In addition, every three months approximately 12 of those existing metal halide fixtures needed maintenance, costing $26,400 in maintenance over five years. Now, the new LED luminaires are virtually maintenance-free and carry a five-year warranty.

After seeing the product, learning about the energy savings – which was greater than 70 percent over the metal halide fixtures – and determining that the dealership would have just a two-year ROI on the LED lights, it was an easy decision. Furthermore, the Tennessee Valley Authority also provided an incentive of $21,700 for upgrading the fixtures to LED!

The LED luminaires provide consistent light levels, reduce hazardous waste disposal, and provide dramatically more efficient light distribution than the metal halide fixtures.  “The new exterior LED lighting allows us to drive down operating expenses, present our cars in the best light, and contribute to the greening of our community,” says Dave Stumbo, Co-Owner and VP/General Manager. Both employees and customers have noticed the bright, white lights and have commented about how much easier it is to see the cars anywhere in the lot. 

“We installed the LED luminaires because they pay back in so many ways,” Stumbo remarks. “Additionally, we are so impressed with how well these LED luminaires are performing at Gary Force Toyota that we upgraded the exterior lighting at Gary Force Acura Pre-Owned Dealership in Franklin, Tennessee.”

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) formally endorsed the EPA’s Energy Star Challenge by asking the NADA’s 20,000 members to reduce energy use by 10 percent or more. The EPA estimates that if auto dealers cut their energy use by 10 percent, they would save nearly $193 million and prevent more than one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

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