Cutting Energy Costs through Repurposed Equipment

July 1, 2015
Brian Milosch has all but eliminated heating costs in his wash bays by adapting an already-existing piece of equipment in his shop

The Inspiration: Brian Milosch is always on the lookout for energy-saving processes and ways to increase efficiency at his shop, Milosch’s Palace Collision Center in Lake Orion, Mich.   After all, Milosch converted the former brownfield site into a top-of-the-line shop with enhanced workflow, sparkling surfaces, and an array of efficiency measures, taking the location from environmental hazard to an operation built on quality care and cost-reducing efficiency.

One of the ways he did that was by investing in a Eurovac system to eliminate the dust that builds up in the shop. The system attaches to each technician’s sanding unit and the dust is sucked into the vacuum system. The vacuum eliminates the dust in the air, improving employee health.

Soon after installing the system, Milosch realized that the Eurovac was constantly running and generating heat. He had to install an exhaust vent to blow the hot air outside, but realized that the heat created was essentially wasted and energy inefficient.

“It was the simplest thing ever,” Milosch says. “I was just looking at the Eurovac and I thought, ‘Why is all of this stupid hot air going to waste?”’

What It Does: Milosch says that after posing that question to his technicians, they explained that it was blowing filtered hot air. That’s when he realized: “I’m like, ‘Put it in the wash bays so we don’t have to turn those propane furnaces on,’” he says.

Milosch now ventilates the heat from the vacuum into the six wash bays, which happen to be located directly next to
the Eurovac. He says that the hot air nearly completely heats the wash bays, even in the harsh Michigan winters. 

How It’s Made: To redirect the hot air, Milosch purchased some simple piping, made a flapper and vented the pipe into the wash bays. 

The Cost: While the Eurovac cost roughly $2,000, the piping only set Milosch back $25.

The ROI: Milosch says that the air generated by the Eurovac has all but eliminated his need for the propane grid that was previously heating the wash bays. Although the grid still exists and heats the bays at night in the winter so nothing freezes, he says it rarely kicks on during the day.

Milosch says that the unique heating method, along with the Clean Burn unit that uses old waste oil to heat the rest of the 20,000-square-foot shop, has greatly reduced his heating costs. He estimates that both save him roughly $1,500 a month compared to using traditional methods.