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Sen. Shaheen tours Grappone Toyota renovation, promotes new bill

Union Leader Correspondent

July 29. 2013 6:23PM

BOW — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen spent part of her Monday touring Grappone Toyota to get a better idea of the benefits that the newly LEED certified building can create both environmentally and economically.

After the tour, Shaheen held a press conference to present the Energy Savings and Industrial Competiveness Act, a bill she is sponsoring that could make it to the U.S. Senate floor this week.

“This renovation is very impressive, and it is an example of what I am trying to do on a larger scale. This is an important issue for America, with dependence on foreign oil, sustainability and pollution all being such big issues,” Shaheen said.

If the current version of the bill were to be passed, it would strengthen national model building codes to make homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient along with requiring the federal government to adopt energy saving techniques. According to information given out by Shaheen, the legislation would create 80,000 new jobs, save consumers $4 billion a year in energy costs, and lower CO2 emissions. Shaheen said it would be the first energy bill to reach the Senate floor since 2007.

“This bipartisan energy efficiency plan, which I introduced with Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, would make this goal a reality. Energy efficiency is the fastest, cheapest way to address our energy challenges, and I am hopeful we can move this bill forward without delay. It is the right thing to do,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen toured the facility with owner Amanda Grappone, who said the green renovations could end up reducing the facilities’ energy consumption rate by 30 percent.

Beth Bassett, director of marketing at Grappone, said that while it was very important to make the facility as green as possible, the renovation would also help the facility save money in the long run.

“We knew we were going to do a major renovation, so we decided to do it the right way and take advantage of what is out there. Even though there is a lot involved, eventually you can become more self-reliant, which pays off in the long run,” Bassett said.

Steve Savoy, business line controller at Grappone, said the renovation was Amanda Grappone’s vision. Along with solar panels and recycling stations, Savoy said the facility also includes geothermal wells, furniture made from recycled material, and custom wood made using green foresting techniques.

“It is gratifying to have the senator come by and acknowledge what we did. The new facility is enjoyable, open and comfortable to be in. The customers’ reaction to the renovation has been phenomenal. It’s beautiful,” Savoy said.

Grappone said that the newly refurbished facility is the only Toyota dealership in New Hampshire, and only one of two in New England, to be LEED certified.

“And there are only 20 in the whole country,” she said.

Along with Grappone, other local business leaders also spoke to the financial and economic benefits of buildings facilities that are LEED certified. Nancy Kyle of the Retail Merchants Association, Will Tagye of Velcro USA, Tom Sullivan of Sullivan Construction, Jim Brett of the New England Council appeared during the press conference as well.

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