Your Favorite Car Wash (also known as Summit Car Wash) in Reynoldsville, PA, was looking for a way to reduce the effects of increased natural gas utility costs while still providing quality car wash service. The owners, Lonnie and Linda Vrobel, decided that replacing their older hot water boiler with a new high efficiency boiler could potentially save them money. But was that really the best place to start? And, how long until they’d see the benefits? The Vrobels contacted the Clarion Small Business Development Center’s Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) for assistance.
The EMAP consultant gathered information about the current system, and determined that the boiler’s efficiency had dropped to 63.3% of its original capacity, due to age. Almost half of the natural gas being used was literally flying out the flue stack! The Vrobels selected a new boiler with a 95% efficiency rating, which was 11,500 BTUs less than their current one. The high efficiency meant the smaller boiler would meet the needs of Your Favorite Car Wash’s customers while saving utility costs.
An impressive 31.7% increase in efficiency between the existing boiler and the proposed model made the project an ideal candidate for the Small Business Advantage Grant. The new boiler would reduce over 35 tons of air pollutants annually, equivalent to removing 6 passenger cars from the road.
On October 15th, 2008, Your Favorite Car Wash was awarded a $7,500 grant towards the purchase and installation of the new boiler system. The grant covered almost 50% of the installation costs, greatly assisting the Vrobels with their up-front costs, and shortening the payback period on the investment.
By utilizing EMAP’s services, Your Favorite Car Wash was able to continue to provide quality service to its customers while improving their bottom line, while simultaneously decreasing the impact upon the environment. The subsidized boiler will help the Vrobels maintain their locally owned small business while improving the air quality in Reynoldsville.