How To Start an Eco-Friendly Laundromat Business


Starting an eco-friendly laundromat is a great green business opportunity that benefits both the environment and your bottom line.

The most important step you can take to make your laundromat greener and more energy-efficient is to install energy-efficient washers and dryers. Installing water- and energy-efficient washing machines and dryers not only conserves energy and resources, it also reduces operating costs and increases profit. A typical modern front-loading washer uses 16-25 gallons of water per load, compared to 40 gallons for older top-loading models. Front-loading washers also spin more efficiently, reducing the amount of time clothes must spend in the energy-sucking dryer.

Because up to 90% of energy consumption for the typical washing machine is used to heat the water, another way many eco-friendly laundromats are choosing to cut their energy bills by installing solar water heaters, which use clean solar energy to heat water for the washers.

On-site solar panels may also be able to generate some or all of the energy used to power the washers and dryers, or you may be able to purchase clean energy from your local utility company to go completely carbon-free. If clean energy is not offered in your region, consider purchasing carbon offsets to reduce your laundromat business’s carbon footprint.

Three Eco-Friendly Laundromats For Clothes That Are Fresh and Green

beach-solar-laundromatThe Beach Solar Laundromat, located in Toronto, Ontario, offers both coin-operated machines and laundry service. Located in a 1939 building, the laundromat underwent major renovation in 2002 and 2003 to improve its environmental sustainability. Beach Solar Laundromat now uses eight solar thermal panels to heat water for the laundromat and the buildings space heating radiators. Electricity and natural gas consumption have fallen by 30% per load as a result, and the remaining energy is produced by hydro and wind power. The refurbished laundromat also attracted many new customers following the renovation, and has seen revenue increase by 160%.

washboard-eco-laundryThe Washboard Eco Laundry in Portland, Maine is another laundromat with great green initiatives. Washboard Eco Laundry uses the most energy and water efficient commercial washers and dryers on the market and, like Beach Solar, they generate most of their hot water through clean solar thermal energy. On-site, they offer eco-friendly detergents and bleach alternatives sold from bulk containers to reduce waste and conserve resources. The laundromat also has a comprehensive recycling program and was remodeled with low-impact building materials, high-efficiency lighting and heating systems, and plenty of windows for natural lighting. In cooperation with another local business, Washboard Eco Laundry also offers “wet cleaning,” a safe, eco-friendly dry cleaning alternative.

tolt-laundryTolt Laundry, in Carnation, Washington, uses high-efficiency washers and dryers that use about 60% less water than typical commercial machines. A solar collection system provides about half the energy needed to heat water for the laundromat, even in the cloudy Northwest. The laundromat also features energy-efficient lights and a lint collection system designed to improve air quality in the laundromat and surrounding neighborhood. The laundromat is owned by a father-daughter team and prides itself on being family-friendly. they provide a children’s play area, three flat screen TVs, free wireless internet, vending machines with snacks and drinks, and other services for families.

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Main Image Credit: Kurt Thomas Hunt

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Comments

  1. Brian says:

    While these are great suggestions, I would also be sure to assess the impact on the net income for the store especially solar panels.

    Also, anyone considering owning a coin laundromat needs to put themselves in the shoes of the customers. Will marketing your store as eco-friendly really make a difference for the customers that they are:

    a) willing to pay more
    b) willing to travel for your store (most just go to laundromats within 1-2 mile radius)

    In my experience, typical laundromat customers care more about lighting and cleanliness of the store than they do about environmental impact.

  2. I agree with Brian. While a green Laundromat sounds nice, the average customer isn’t going to care or even notice the difference.

    Keep in mind the demographics involved in living a green life are much different than most Laundromat users who are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck.

    Eventually products and improvements will lessen the impact of a Laundromat Business on the environment, but it will likely be more slowly than in other industries.

  3. Anthony says:

    I disagree, the benefit is not to the customer but to the owner in less money spent on powering the laundromat. I have an idea to also reclaim water and use eco-friendly cleaners. No reason you can’t reclaim grey water from washing clothes.

    The benefit to the customer is they get clean clothes and that’s it.

  4. Steve says:

    Great ideas. Other things that you can do to keep it green include –

    1) Refraining from using paper in your marketing – flyers are not cool!
    2) Reduce your footprint as much as possible and then offset the rest via the likes of Carbonfund.org
    3) Promote other green businesses and charities in your laundromat.

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