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The last few years have seen some excellent progress made in the way of environmentally-friendly products and services in the carwash industry. These technologies not only offer environmental benefits, but often cost savings and marketing opportunities, too.
Last month, Professional Carwashing & Detailing scoured the market and considered which improvements were most important for an operator in 2011. What follows is a list of technologies and products every carwash operator concerned with his/her green image should consider for the coming year.
Tire shiner for the eco-minded consumer
An automatic tire shiner, like Belanger’s DuraShiner® line of tunnel and in-bay tire shiners, will appeal directly to ‘do it yourself’ types who may be hand shining tires in their driveways now. And automatic shiners are ‘green’ in operation, too, according to Marcus McLaughlin, a member of Belanger’s marketing team, who said they use less chemical application and dressing than a typical home washer and keep these products out of drains and sewers.
“Chances are these occasional home washers lack the experience and expertise (not to mention the access to professional-grade products) to hand shine tires properly,” explained McLaughlin. “DuraShiner® tire shiners provide that extra incentive to get home washers out of their driveways.”
Dryers for eco-friendly buyers
Whether you choose to manage your power usage through the use of VFDs or if you shop the market for an environmentally-friendly dryer such as Proto-Vest’s Stripper Dryer 90N — which uses a single 15 horsepower engine — the important aspect is that you monitor and control your energy needs.
But don’t forget to find a system that can handle your carwash’s volume. In the case of the Stripper Dryer, the operator is able to still process 120 cars per hour.
Find a green chemical provider
Nearly every chemical provider to the carwash industry has a green product line these days, but not all lines are created equal. Take your time to investigate the claims made about the soaps. This is because “green” branding leaves a lot open to interpretation. Consider, too, the marketing support you will get from the company.
As mentioned by Mike McKillip, chemical program manager at RYKO Manufacturing Company, in an earlier PC&D article (“Carwash chemicals à la carte,” September 2010), some of the more important attributes include:
• Readily biodegradable;
• Meet discharge requirements for the sanitation system;
• Are safe for the user, vehicles, and carwash equipment; and
• Use packaging that is 100 percent recyclable.
Upgrade to a green IBA
As with chemicals, the in-bay automatic systems of today also offer the keen-on-green operator plenty of opportunity to reduce his impact on the environment. Consider machines that use less water, chemical and power for cleaning, as well as include a water reclaim system.
Some companies, like ecoJET Systems’ ROTOFIRE, have also created IBAs that take up minimal space. The ROTOFIRE also includes an automatic tire shiner, as mentioned above.
In the future
And while we’ve noticed plenty of great products to choose from in 2011, we’re also holding out for some doozies in the future. That’s because many of carwashing’s biggest and brightest manufacturers have already noticed the need for further innovation.
“When equipment manufacturers design for maximum customer appeal, it’s a win-win-win for end users, wash operators and the environment,” noted McLaughlin. “Consumers get the wash experience they want, operators get a significant boost in revenues and wash counts, and the environment benefits from fewer driveway carwashers.”