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"The gas crisis of the winter of 2001 created an energy cost crunch that made me look for an alternative. Solar was by far the best way to go. Despite gas prices going up, my solar hot water system will enable me to maintain lower prices for my customers."

-Tom Benson, World's Largest Laundromat Owner

Image01Our energy bills could have sunk this business - now, they're a source of pride.

The Laundromat's solar display has done two primary things: It has lowered our bills and raised us into international acclaim. Tourists have even stopped by to see them, saying that while they were in the Chicago area they had to stop by and see the place. One such visitor said they were stopping here on their way to Millennium Park.

FUN FACT: The emissions saved by using our solar system is the equivalent of planting 56 acres of trees each year.

We recently partnered with Morton West High School teachers, who won a grant to create a curriculum around alternative energies. We spoke to the science classes and brought them here for field trips. To us, this isn't going above and beyond. To us, it's our responsibility and privilege to help our community learn more about the environmental and financial benefits of the green movement.

But you probably want to hear the nuts and bolts of our system. So here we go:

  1. The system was originally installed in November of 2002, then replaced for the store's 2006 reopening after the fire.
  2. There are 36 panels, each 4-by-10-feet
  3. There are three 200-gallon storage tanks
  4. It's designed to produce more than 2,400 gallons of hot water daily, at an average temperature of 120 degrees.
  5. Annually? That's more than 600,000 gallons of hot water.

Image02But solar won't help when it's cloudy or cold, will it?

On Feb. 20, 2003, the outside temperature was 32 degrees, otherwise known as a beautiful and mild winter day in Chicagoland. The cold water inlet from the city was at 36 degrees. The solar collector temperature was at 111 degrees. And the solar hot water temperature sent to the main water heater was 107 degrees.

But won't it need a lot of specialized maintenance that there's no way my local handyman would know how to perform?

The system is maintenance free, 100 percent automatic and is designed to last more than 30 years.



6246 Cermak Road Berwyn, IL 60402-2319
Phone: (708) 749-1545
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