Last November, 705 solar panels were installed at Manheim's auction site in Bordentown, N.J. The panels cover the 42,000-square-foot roof of the detail shop.
In January, the panels began capturing the sun's rays and converting them into electricity. The panels will produce 136 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, meeting 15 percent of the shop's electricity needs. The juice is used to power the shop's lighting, vacuums and mechanical lifts.
The solar panels are the latest initiative in "Go Green," a companywide program to find environmentally responsible ways to do business, says David Munnikhuysen, Manheim's vice president for best practices. That initiative shows how auto auctions, like other sectors of the automotive industry, are seeking a greener path.
The nation's largest auto auction company also is engaged in water treatment and recycling and uses water-based paints in its body shops to reduce emissions.
Go Green supports a national program at parent company Cox Enterprises Inc. aimed at reducing the company's carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2017. A carbon footprint measures the impact of human activities on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced.
"Manheim looked within our auction group, and we did a review to understand where in the auction process we had to take up this cause," Munnikhuysen says.