One of the most significant expenses of operating any car wash, whether you own a self serve, automatic or tunnel car wash, is water. There are several key things that an operator can do to minimize water waste.
For tunnels, reclaim systems can offer a significant impact to water usage. Reclaimed water can be used on high pressure rinse application as well as brush lube water. Followed by a final fresh water and spot free rinse, your customers will never know the difference between fresh and reclaimed water. The results will be the same. Having said that, it is imperative that the reclaim system is maintained to ensure odors and water coloration is minimized. If odor becomes a problem, your customers will definitely know the difference between a wash with a reclaim and without a reclaim.
Conserving water in a self serve application can be done by turning off the weep system in the summer and reducing the water flow in the winter. The concept of a weep system is “moving water will not freeze”. Even a steady drip will prevent freezing. You may also want to look into an air or anti freeze injection system instead of a water weep system. The same would apply to an automatic in-bay car wash with regard to the weep system. In some cases it may be possible to capture the water used for weep in self serves and automatics and re-purpose that water for a rinse application. Another way to maximize your water usage is to capture the reject water from you spot free unit. Most spot units discard as much as 2 gallon a minute in order to make spot free water. In a busy wash setting that could be a tremendous amount of water and savings. By capturing that reject water and repurposing it either in the self serves or automatics, you should reduce significant cost. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back and feel good about the fact that you are doing more than your part in conserving our precious nature resources! Make sure you let your customers know that your site has taken several measures to conserve water. This coupled with utilizing “green” environmentally responsible chemicals at your wash will attract a segment of customers that support retail establishments that are responsible.
Today’s customer is more focused than ever on the environment. Unfortunately, only 40% of consumers know that professional car washing is better for the environment. However, 53% of consumers prefer to buy from businesses with a green reputation and 80% are concerned about the environment. Augment your marketing materials to deliver this message to current and potential customers.
AutoAuto Wash has designed and executed several of these “custom” solutions for retail and commercial washes. For these and other ideas on how to minimize water waste please contact us for a site evaluation and/or estimate.