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Information Needed to Assess Solar Hot Water for Laundromats

Photo: Flickr/LivinginMonrovia

You run a Laundromat or other type of laundry service that uses lots and lots (and lots) of hot water every day to wash clothes, uniforms, restaurant and hotel linens, etc.

You’re noticing that utility rates are starting to creep up, eating into your profits, and  now you’re wondering how much it would cost to offset your bill with free hot water generated by solar collectors.

First of all, there is no “one-size-fits all” solar hot water system for Laundromats or any other commercial business. Homes are more predictable, but commercial solar hot water systems require specific information to design the most cost effective systems.

Here are just a few things that Free Hot Water’s solar thermal engineers will have to know in order to design a solar hot water system for a Laundromat or laundry service. Some of this information can be obtained by us through your utility.

Laundry Assessment Information Needed (Partial List)

  • Type of utility. Are you gas? Electric? Oil? Steam? This information will be used for many reasons, including engineering and for estimating your utility savings over time.
  • Hot water usage. Based on a number factors, we’ll need to obtain an estimate, how much gas or oil is used for hot water and how much is used for other functions, such as heating the building and for your facility’s dryers. .
  • Monthly utility bills. It’s important to know patterns of usage during the different months and seasons. Solar hot water systems will produce more hot water during the summer, obviously. Systems must be designed to not overproduce during those months, while not under producing for the cooler seasons. As a result, the goal is to offset as much as 80% of your annual hot water needs.
  • Types of washers. We’ll have to know about your washers. Do you have large industrial washers? Small residential? Front loaders or top loaders? How many of each do you have? How many gallons are used per load for each type of washer?
  • Type of roof. We’ll have to know about your roof. Is it in good condition? How much area is available to install solar collectors? Also, is it a flat roof or slanted?
  • Roof orientation. If the roof is oriented in a particular direction, at what direction? The best solar potential is achieved when the solar collectors face south. However, there are ways to compensate for any direction, especially when you have a flat rooftop. The angle or pitch of a roof is anther factor.
  • Current storage tank area. We’ll need to know about your storage tank area. How far away is it from the roof? Is it on the roof? Wherever it is, is there room for another tank? Can we use your existing tank to incorporate solar hot water, or must it be replaced.

There are other details and data that need to be gathered in order to design an efficient and cost effective solar hot water system. The good news is that we can help you gather all of this information and give you a free solar hot water assessment.

If you have a Laundromat or other washing service, you have nothing to lose by contacting us for a free estimate. At best, we’ll show you your potential hot water savings by going solar. At worst, you’ll have a professional estimate and you’ll be able to benchmark yourself for another time when you’re ready to go solar.

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