René Delessert is an entrepreneur and president of the municipality of Essertes in the canton of Vaud. Among other things, he and his brother own a hydro-wash car wash facility in Forel. There are several car wash facilities in this area, but Delessert’s is unique.
Not only because of the familial atmosphere and regular customers who keep coming back because of the manager, Francois, the helpful and cheerful pensioner who keeps things in good shape, the Delessert brothers’ hydro-wash facility stands out from the competition because of its environmental friendliness.
The hydro-wash facility in Forel has six vacuum tube collectors from Helvetic Energy installed on the roof over the wash places. On the average, 50 litres of water per car is used, half of which is hot water. The solar energy system warms the water on sunny days to approximately 35-40°C. It is then heated with gas to 60° C, required for the purification process. In spring, data was collected over the course of one month, with pleasing results. The solar coverage rate amounted to 25 to 30 percent.
The water used consists of 80-90 percent meteoric water from the roof surface. This originates from the buildings on their own property as well as those of both neighbouring parcels. Part of the forecourt is furnished with a porous coating that allows rainwater to seep away. The water is then filtered and stored in a 2000-litre capacity water heater.
Solar frost protection
In winter, the solar-warmed water serves another purpose alongside cleaning cars: it circulates constantly through the floor pipes in the wash places, preventing the floor surface from freezing, and the wash places can be used in winter with no danger of black ice.
René Delessert states three reasons why he and his brother decided upon the construction of a hydro-wash facility. First, both brothers were owners of a parcel of land that they had not yet used. Second: they are building contractors, and as a result own a fleet of vehicles. This lent itself naturally to a car wash facility. And finally, this site with proximity to the motorway and good visibility from the street offered the perfect location for a car wash facility.
René Delessert says: “We have not invested in order to make a short-term profit; we have made a long-term investment for sensible use of our natural resources.” The two brothers have realized their vision with their ecological facility that uses sun and rain as an investment in the future. Evidence of the fact that the Delesserts are not only seeking their own profit is that they have not applied for any funding. Money is not their incentive, but rather a philosophy of life which says that synergies should be used sensibly for the satisfaction of all.