Considering how much water it takes to clean your car, you may not think car washes are all that environmentally friendly — however one man is aiming to change all that. Gregg Mercede, owner of the Greenwich Avenue Solar Car Wash in Stamford has worked with Skyline Innovations to install 18 solar panels on the roof of the building in order to heat cold tap water. The warm water is then pumped and squirted onto dirty cars that roll along the car wash’s automated conveyor belt, while other machines apply soap, liquid waxes, wheel cleaner and rinses. Speaking to the Stamford Advocate, Mercede said he’d opted for solar power because “we’re here for the long run. We wanted to provide the very cleanest cars while having a positive impact on the environment.”
Mercede said the building’s solar thermal panels work with another set of 24 photovoltaic cells to cut the car wash’s energy consumption by about 50 percent. He added that the solar energy also powers the car wash’s lights, heat, air-conditioning and car-washing equipment. Mercede’s car wash isn’t just environmentally conscious – it also makes good business sense: he says that the lower energy consumption helps keep his own costs down, so his prices can be competitive.
Washington, DC-based Skyline Innovations installed the car wash’s solar panels and company owner Mike Healy said you can expect similar sites in the future. “It’s a great application for solar heating technology,” he said. “We are hoping to put solar equipment in a lot more car washes in Maryland.”
Photos by Skyline Innovations