Our Environment

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Respectful of the environment.

We are respectful of the environment and take a practical approach to conserve energy and minimize waste generated from our operations. We actively look for more efficient ways to use resources to reduce our impact.

Greenhouse Gas “Net-Zero” Feasibility Report

As part of our commitment to understanding the impact of our operations on the environment, we conducted a greenhouse gas emissions inventory in fiscal 2018 using The Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The Protocol is a standardized accounting and reporting framework developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute.

The greenhouse gas emissions inventory was used to prepare a feasibility report assessing our ability to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from our operations and electricity use. Please click here to view a summary of the report.

Recycling and Minimizing Waste

A core part of our business is the renewal of used cars, and we improve the quality and lifespan of all of the used cars we retail.

We’ve also developed programs to reduce and recycle our waste. Here are a few examples:

  • Each year we recycle more than seven million pounds of everyday products such as cardboard, plastics, and cans.
  • We recycle some of the waste generated by our vehicle reconditioning and service operations. This includes more than 360,000 tires (that can be used in many ways such as for rubberized asphalt to repave roads) as well as battery cores, and used motor oil and oil filters.
  • We work to minimize environmental impact during new construction by working with vendors to reduce the amount of construction waste that goes to local landfills.
  • We have generally eliminated lead wheel weights from our reconditioning processes and recycle the lead weights that are removed during wheel balancing.
  • We reclaim and recycle PCs, monitors, and servers.
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Number of Tires Recycled
All Locations, 2017*

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Gallons of Oil Recycled
All Locations, 2017*

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Pounds of Everyday Products Recycled
All Locations, 2017*


Conserving Water

  • Approximately 85% of water used in our car washes is reclaimed water.
  • Since 2013, our new stores have low-flow faucets and toilets.
  • Our irrigation systems utilize rain sensors and drip irrigation.
  • Landscaping design at new stores applies Xeric principals, including reduced turf and drought tolerant plants, where allowed by local municipalities.

Air Quality

In March 2013, CarMax became a tobacco-free environment creating a healthier, safer, and more productive environment for associates, customers, and visitors.

CarMax also minimizes volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by:

  • Using special fixtures and materials to improve air quality in our buildings, including low-VOC interior paint, flooring materials, adhesives, and sealants
  • Standardizing the use of low-VOC automotive paint in our reconditioning process in more than half our stores

Conserving Energy

Our commitment to minimizing the amount of energy needed to operate our stores includes these energy conservation measures:

Energy Star

We are an active Energy Star partner and utilize their recommended energy management and analysis principles to identify reduction opportunities.

Harnessing the Power of the Sun

We stay informed about the latest innovations in renewable energy and employ alternative energy technologies, such as:

  • Solar power
    • Electrical energy is created using photovoltaic panels in some of our stores, resulting in substantial energy savings and reduced demand on the grid.
  • Solar water heating
    • We are currently testing solar water heating for our stores. These systems absorb the sun’s energy into our hot water system, creating hot water and reducing the need for conventional water heating methods.
  • Sunlight harvesting
    • CarMax stores have skylights and large storefront glass to let natural lighting into showrooms.
    • CarMax production shops have skylights to allow natural light in as well.
    • The energy needed to light our stores is minimized by monitoring natural light levels and reducing artificial light power by the use of automatic dimmers when there is enough sunlight.

HVAC Innovation and Optimization

HVAC systems are designed to ensure our buildings are healthy, comfortable, and use the least amount of energy possible.

  • Multi-stage heating and cooling systems allow us to match energy output with store needs.
  • Innovative energy recovery wheels in the heating and air conditioning systems at stores built since 2013, allow us to heat or cool spaces using less energy than conventional systems.
  • Multi-speed fans reduce the energy needed to heat, cool, and ventilate stores.
  • Waste heat dehumidification allows us to dry humid air using less energy.
  • Demand control ventilation provides the right amount of fresh air to the building based on the number of people in it, which reduces over-ventilation and saves energy.
  • Our facilities team maintains our equipment in good condition and replaces units that are inefficient and outdated or not operating correctly.

Energy Management

Every CarMax store features an energy management system which tracks and optimizes energy usage by adjusting building conditions to match occupancy, weather conditions, and seasonal changes.

  • Access to real-time performance
    • Data analytics allow us to identify operational issues and correct them quickly.
    • We utilize remote commissioning. Monitoring the operation of HVAC units allows us to ensure they are operating correctly to keep our associates and customers comfortable. This also allows us to adjust the settings to maximize energy savings.
  • Powering down during off hours
    • Air compressors, vacuums, and other equipment are automatically turned off when not needed.
    • Computer equipment is scheduled to turn off automatically during non-business hours.
    • Non-essential lights are turned off after hours.


  • Artificial light sources for new stores and sales lots are enhanced by the use of various energy-efficient bulbs, including high-output fluorescent (T-5), Pulse Start Metal Halide, and Light-Emitting Diode (LED).
  • We retrofitted most of our stores with new interior lighting to include high-output fluorescent (T-5) and LEDs.
  • The exterior lighting at over twenty stores has been upgraded, which greatly reduced our energy consumption. This is like removing 350 cars from the road each year.
  • All new stores are being built with LED fixtures for all interior and exterior lighting.

New Store Design and Construction

The design of our stores has been optimized for function and size, which reduces construction materials, maintenance, cleaning supplies, and energy use throughout the life of the building.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification

  • The following stores are certified LEED to date:
    • Chattanooga, TN
    • Des Moines, IA
    • Gaithersburg, MD
    • Pleasanton, CA
  • Our corporate office in Richmond, VA, was certified LEED Silver.

Sustainable Design and Construction

CarMax has integrated LEED principles into all our store designs and construction practices, including:

  • Whole store commissioning to ensure they operate as designed
  • White Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) reflective roofs, which reduces cooling energy use and heat island effects