Car Wash Business Plans

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Case Study: Lighting Challenges Faced by Ohio Car Wash Company

A car wash in Ohio contacted our office, seeking a new lighting system for their drive through areas and building edifice. Like many car washes, this facility featured a “drive through” design that required as much light as possible. Local wind zones had to be taken into account, and occasional heavy snowfall in the winter was a factor to consider as well. Lighting for the car wash had to be evenly distributed throughout all areas of traffic and also around the building in such a way as to make the entire facility visible from the neighboring roadway, regardless of weather conditions.

This was the client’s primary concern, in fact, due to the fact that the winters in Ohio can be severe, and falling snow can obscure the visibility of average parking lot lights. This car wash needed light that was clearly visible in order to continuously advertise its presence.

Design Considerations

Both our experts and the client were all in agreement that the basic design of the car wash lighting system should follow the architectural “flow” of the facility itself and the movement of vehicles through the drive through area. The car wash features a single entrance at the front that opens into a drive through area where the cars are actually washed. Past the drive area, there is a separate detailing area where the cars are dried and polished.

The client specifically requested that we use a certain amount of decorative lighting to add aesthetic to their facility. The main areas that needed this extra affect were the building façade itself, which faced the street, and the sign near the entrance that advertised the business.

Photometric Analysis Software Helped Us Develop A Custom Car Wash Lighting System Unique To This Challenging Environment

The client sent us a detailed set plan in CAD. Using data from this site plan, we assessed various angles of incidence and foot candle options for the car wash. Lighting calculations were made based upon elevation of buildings, total area of the parking and drive through areas, and the entrance. Using the 3D rendering capability of our software, we were able to experiment with different hypothetical scenarios until we developed a system that enabled us to accommodate client tastes, light the car wash with luminance that was more than adequate for even snow and rain conditions, and utilize the most efficient lighting technology available.

Final Lighting System Proposed

We chose 25′ poles to meet the local wind zone requirements for the community surrounding the car wash. Lighting fixtures had to concentrate light onto the detailing area and throw some into the entrance drive and exit. We used Type V, 400W shoebox fixtures for this task. For our client’s decorative lighting requirements, we used gooseneck lights. All gooseneck lights were building mounted in a low profile position that minimized their own appearance and emphasized the building edifice. For the sign near the entrance, we used a linear fluorescent floodlight designed for energy efficiency and low profile uplighting.

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