by Joan Tupponce
Most people don’t think about water and energy conservation when they drive their car through a carwash, but Chip Ashton of Speedy Green Car Wash in Manassas Park does.
Typically, a carwash uses approximately 100 gallons of water for each vehicle that travels through the washing tunnel. At Speedy Green, 80 gallons of that total is recycled water, says Ashton, a partner in the carwash.
The water used in Speedy Green’s carwash tunnel goes into a collection system where it is cleaned through a series of filtering systems. “We recycle all the water,” Ashton says. “It doesn’t go into the sewer system.”
Speedy Green uses water-based, biodegradable soaps “that are naturally compatible with a water reclaiming system,” Ashton says.
Recycled water actually cleans cars better than “new” water, he says. “It’s a long-term cost savings for the company,” Ashton says. “We’ve seen savings in our water bill.”
Speedy Green also saves electricity by using variable-frequency drive systems that allow managers to control the amount of power that carwash equipment uses. “We can run the blowers from 75 to 90 percent of maximum capacity and still get the same blowing benefit as 100 percent,” Ashton says. “We can program the variable-frequency drive to maximize electricity usage.”
The vacuums at the carwash, for example, are designed to slip into idle mode and then sleep mode if they sit idle for a certain amount of time. “The vacuum is technically on, but it’s not using any energy,” Ashton says. “The variable-frequency drives help us save on the life of the equipment, and they use a lot less energy.”
The owners of Speedy Green Carwash set up the business with an eye toward expansion. At the moment, there are no specific plans to open a second location but it is a consideration. “It’s too early to tell,” Ashton says.
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