Taking your car to a professional wash service is much faster and easier than cleaning it yourself.
Dedicated car-lovers will happily invest a Sunday afternoon into washing their beloved vehicle, taking great care and effort to restore that dealership shine. For countless others, though, professional car washes are an integral part of life.
In the United States, the annual car wash industry’s revenue amounts to $5.8 billion, and there are 9,000 full-service car-wash businesses across the country. Given the amount of water, electricity, and cleaning materials used by these firms every day, how eco-friendly are they?
In this day and age, businesses must take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and create a more environmentally-conscious enterprise. For any car wash firm looking to adopt a greener approach to their operations, this ethical overhaul may be daunting at first.
However, the fewer resources your team uses during their daily work, the more costs can continue to drop, benefiting your finances as much as your environment.
With this in mind, here are five ways to make your car-wash enterprise greener.
Embrace Solar Energy to Cut Electricity Costs
Most car washes run from early in the morning right through to the evening, often servicing dozens of cars in a constant stream.
Understandably, this means electricity is needed consistently, which incurs high energy-costs. Installing solar panels converts sunlight into much-needed electricity, putting less strain on power grids and reducing your dependence on them.
If your solar system has an excess of power, this transfers to the local supplier’s grid. There is usually a monetary reward, too.
In the States, the government provides a 30 percent tax credit to help pay for solar-panel installation, though this is set to drop by the close of 2016. Other states, such as South Carolina, provide further tax credits to ease businesses’ investments.
What about on overcast days, in which your system might not have quite as much solar energy as it needs? You will use power from the local supplier’s grid as usual, ensuring you never go without.
Recycle Your Water
Many businesses recycle their plastic, glass, and paper, but you can also make your car wash a greener, more cost-effective machine by using recycled water.
This involves reusing treated water, which would otherwise go to waste. Using a reclaim system allows a car wash business to cut costs and continue operating in the event of a drought.
While installing a reclaim system carries significant expense, their continued use is fairly low-cost, and over time will pay for itself in money saved.
Use Microfiber Cloths And Microfiber Towels
Microfiber mops, microfiber cloths, and microfiber towels have become a popular cost-effective cleaning solution at car washes.
Microfiber features more fibers than a standard cotton or nylon cleaning cloth, which contributes to a far more effective clean. These can pick up even the smallest particles of dirt, without streaks or scratches.
Using microfiber cloths and towels at your car wash will lead to less wasted water, as they use as much as 20 times less fluid than standard materials. The need for chemical cleaners is also eliminated, leading to a safer, more organic working environment.
If you do need to use chemicals, try to use biodegradable products where possible.
Collect Rainwater To Reduce Costs Further
Setting up barrels or cisterns in periods of wet weather is a cheap, easy way to collect rainwater. However, commercial collection systems can be found on today’s market, which may lead to a more professional, streamlined process.
Be sure to check the laws in your state, as some prohibit collecting rainwater. This not only avoids legal issues, but also prevents a wasted investment.
Prioritize Natural Lighting With Multiple Windows
Whenever your team is indoors, perhaps completing paperwork, enjoying a break, or chatting with customers, natural lighting should provide enough illumination to negate the need for electric lights.
Invest in large windows and skylights to capture more natural light, creating a brighter, more inviting environment. Make sure these are double-glazed to keep more warmth inside during colder months, reducing your team’s need for heating.
The more steps you take to improve your car wash business’s green credentials, the more you will save in the long run. Initial investments may bring a significant amount of expense, but this will lead to lower costs in the future as you depend less on water- and energy-providers.
On a more commercial level, awitching to more eco-friendly approaches can help to make your business appear more ethical, more modern, and more invested in your community and environment. Take a look at your overall business model, identify changes you can make over time, and investigate your options.
You will be glad you did.
Kyle McManus is a freelance writer based in the UK. This article was prepared on behalf of Texas Microfiber.