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SOLAR LAUNDROMAT OWNER
CLEANS UP

For Alex Winch, owner of the Beach Solar Laundromat, the savings never stop. After retrofitting his store and installing solar thermal panels on the roof -- which helped to reduce his natural gas consumption by 30% -- he has now just installed a new lighting system which will yield an additional annual savings of appoximately $650.

The initiative is part of the Cool Shops program, a project undertaken by Greenest City, a Toronto nonprofit environmental group in Toronto. Alex thinks that small businesses across Toronto can do the same thing -- that's why he's joined the Cool Shops Steering Committee.

"Our revenues have doubled and our utility costs per load of laundry have dropped 30%. Going green has proven an attractive business proposition for the Laundromat and should be for anyone," said Mr. Winch.

Greenest City marks its seventh year of operation, assisting small retailers with expert energy audits and recommendations for energy efficiency at no cost to the retailer. To date, approximately 85 small street-facing retailers in Toronto have benefited from the Cool Shops program.

This past summer, the Beach Solar Laundromat was part of the Cool Shops program. Corey Diamond, Cool Shops coordinator at Greenest City, recommended a fluorescent lighting retrofit. As a result of his advice, the laundromat has reduced its lighting bill by 65%. The expected energy savings will pay for the new lights in approximately two years. The reduction of energy consumption in the lights will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by almost 7,000 kg (or 7 tonnes) per year.

Mr. Diamond is quick to sing the praises of the Laundromat's commitment. "What we found with working with the Laundromat was that the energy efficient lighting switch did not negatively impact business. Conservation is too often equated with "sacrifice" -- here's living proof that conserving energy is actually good for business."

The Beach Solar Laundromat has undertaken a number of energy efficiency initiatives. This month marks the one-year anniversary of Winch's ownership of the Laundromat, and the start of year on year energy consumption comparisons. Says Mr. Winch, "As a direct result of the solar thermal panels installed last December, our natural gas consumption is down approximately 30% per load of laundry compared to last year. Our electricity consumption, which is used for lighting and washer and dryer motors, is also down approximately 30% per load of laundry compared to last year. As a result of the cosmetic and mechanical cleanup undertaken in the past 12 months, Laundromat revenues have more than doubled."

By volunteering on the Steering Committee of the Cool Shops program, Mr. Winch hopes to help other retailers achieve similar business improvements while lowering energy bills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollutants.

Written by: Greenest City , Toronto Atmospheric Fund and the Climate Change Action Fund


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