FLEET MANAGERS TURN TO WATER RECYCLING AND RAINWATER HARVESTING AS THEY SEEK WAYS TO KEEP VEHICLES CLEAN WHILE USING LESS WATER
Reports of the driest September since records began has once again highlighted the threat of potential water shortages. However it doesn’t take the prospect of restricted supplies to wake people up to the need to conserve water. The volatility of the world’s weather patterns has made people concentrate on finding ways to conserve resources and not simply flush it away after it has been used once for washing.
Water-intensive activities are particularly under scrutiny and that’s where bus, coach and commercial vehicle operators face a challenge: how to keep their vehicles clean without wasting too much of a precious resource.
On the one hand they face a commercial imperative – they need to present a professional image at all times in order to attract more customers, whether these are fare-paying passengers or companies wanting goods transported.
Having a sparklingly clean exterior, with clearly visible company logos or, in the case of many buses, revenue-generating advertising banners, is part of that commercial offering.
On the other hand, using too much water is not only bad for the environment, it can add considerably to a company’s costs, with charges for extra water used as well as bills for disposing of the waste water.
Many companies are paying more attention to environmental concerns and are setting KPIs to reflect not only the cleanliness and presentability of vehicles but also the measures taken to reduce the impact on the environment.
So it’s not surprising that an increasing number of fleet managers are investing in water recycling systems that allow them to use water again and again – and reduce vehicle washing costs by as much as 80% into the bargain.
Andy Barracliffe, Director of Britannia Washing Systems, which produces a range of water reclamation and recycling systems at its base in Alcester, UK, said: “The popularity of recycling systems has never been higher.
“Models available today are sophisticated enough to produce clean recycled water of sufficient quality to be used in rinsing, as well as in washing, so substantial savings can be made.
“Not only does it save money on running costs, a well-designed water recycling system can mean the difference between washing your vehicles or not during times of drought when water restrictions are in place.”
Some fleet managers are going even further and installing rainwater harvesting systems to capture free water but Mr Barracliffe warned that that solution was not for everyone.
“Clearly some coach and lorry depots have more scope for rainwater harvesting than others, depending upon the size of the site and scale of the roof space from which water can be gathered,” said Mr Barracliffe.
“Operators need to do their sums first before installing a rainwater harvesting system. Urban bus depots with large garages are obviously better candidates for rainwater harvesting than lorry parks with few buildings.
“In the right circumstances of course they make the ideal addition to a washing system, reducing even further the need to use water from the mains. We have noticed a huge step change in the past 18 months in orders for rainwater harvesting to supplement water recycling systems.”
Britannia washing systems are renowned around the world for their longevity, reliability and unsurpassed wash quality. They are produced at Smith Brothers & Webb’s factory in the UK and exported worldwide.