Work is underway in Miami, FL, for what its owners say will be the nation's most environmentally friendly automobile dealership.

The Tamiami Automotive Group is relocating its Chrysler Dodge and Jeep dealership to the new site and constructing a building on formerly contaminated land. The project will achieve the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) "Gold Certification."

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

A 10,000-member non-profit building-trade organization developed LEED to promote a “whole-building approach.”

LEED recognizes performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

In conjunction with the Tamiami project, Chrysler Group will give other dealers incentives to pursue LEED certification and recognize dealers who are established leaders in environmental activism.

"We are proud of the way that Carlos Planas and his team at Tamiami have embraced their environmentalism," says Steven Landry, Chrysler's executive vice president-global marketing, service and parts.

"Tamiami has set the bar for environmentally friendly dealers and will be a model for other dealerships in our network," he says.

Tamiami's new 18-acre (7.2-ha) location is a former Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site that previously was home to a lumberyard.

The impending 400,000 sq.-ft. (37,160 sq.-m) facility will include several water-conservation and energy-management systems and a design that relies on natural light rather than artificial.

"We are reusing land that was contaminated and revitalizing it to build an eco-friendly structure that cooperates with the environment," says Planas, Tamiami's chairman.

"We owe it to our children and grandchildren to do everything possible to conserve our environment,” he says. “We view this as a must, and encourage others to do the same."

Specific examples of sustainable design principles that Chrysler is encouraging in dealership construction include:

  • Selecting paints, sealants and adhesives with low volatile organic compound.
  • Using heating and air conditioning components that avoid hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants.
  • Increasing the thermal values of the exterior, including high-performance glass.
  • Providing energy-management and monitoring systems.
  • Capturing storm water run-off for landscape irrigation.

Many of Chrysler's facilities already use several of these concepts, the auto maker says.