Innovation That Matters

Laundromat reaps solar rewards

Toronto’s Beach Solar Laundromat shows how a fresh, sustainable approach can revitalize a small business. As part of a heating system overhaul in 2002/3, the laundromat’s 70-year-old building was retrofitted with eight solar thermal panels that now heat its water. The refurbished system has reduced natural gas consumption by 30%. Electricity consumption per washload has fallen by the same amount, and the remaining electricity now comes from hydro and wind power. As a result of Beach Solar’s changes, not only the planet has benefited. The business has seen a 160% increase in revenue, which it puts down to a green-conscious consumer choice. As you would expect, the solar laundromat proudly displays its carbon-free credentials on its website, which allows visitors to view the energy consumption of the laundromat in real time—a good example of eco-metering (for more on that, check out the ‘eco intel’ section of’s eco bounty briefing. Consumers aren’t the only ones to have noticed—the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment have recognised the building as Best in Canada for its pollution reduction measures. While the concept of a solar-powered laundromat may not be unique, it’s still far from common. And all of the above should send a clear message to small businesses everywhere: clean up your energy and the cash will follow. Spotted by: June Avila


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