Kylemore Cars, based in Ballymount in Dublin, has cut the ribbon on a new showroom which, it says, is almost entirely carbon-neutral.
Large proportion of electrified vehicles
With some 60 per cent of the cars it sells being either hybrid or battery-electric models, the new building, according to the company, echoes its customers' appetite for more sustainable options when it comes to buying a second-hand car.
"Our business has seen an increasing number of hybrid and electric cars being part of our offering, and we have the greatest number of vehicles in the 2014 upwards range compared with any other second-hand dealer," said Mark Robins, dealer principal at Kylemore Cars.
"Our customers come from all over Ireland, and we pride ourselves on quality and price. This new showroom will offer our customers a hi-tech, state-of-the-art environment in which to buy a car, and a super workspace for our staff."
Creating a near-zero-emissions building
"For this next generation of the Kylemore Cars business, the brief was to create one of the most cost-effective and energy-efficient buildings possible, in compliance with all current BCAR (Building Control Amendment Regulations) criteria and achieving NZEB (Near Zero Energy Building) certification," said Kylemore's founder, Graham Clarke, whose brainchild the project was.
Creating a building that complies with those regulations and achieves near-carbon-neutral certification is a complex and all-encompassing process.
For starters, the building's outer shell is made from a composite-insulated cladding and roofing panel system that is both thermally efficient and structurally robust enough to maintain its integrity over the wall faces of a modern car showroom.
However, a big part of the building's ability to earn its certification lies up top, with an array of 32 photovoltaic solar panels with a total projected output of 9,000kWh. As well as the solar panels, the building utilises a rainwater harvesting system. With the panels and the rainwater harvesting system combined, they not only support the environment and reduce the local demand on the grid but also benefit Kylemore's bottom line. As part of the construction of the building, the company has installed three standard electric vehicle chargers and a high-speed rapid charger.
Heating and cooling systems play a big part in the efficiency rating of any modern building, so it is with Kylemore Cars' new showroom. In compliance with the criteria for a near-zero-emissions building, the construction is largely airtight, meaning that a minimum of heat or cool air is lost through draughts. This helps to optimise the heat or air-conditioning use in the building so that it uses as little energy as possible. LED bulbs for lighting also help to cut down on power use.
"The building is to be future proofed where possible to allow for the ongoing integration of ever more sustainable systems and practices as these propositions become available, practical and economically viable," said Clarke.
Kylemore Cars typically sells more than 2,000 cars every year and employs a staff of 30.