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The About Face Collective

Idea acf3206:

The About Face Collective Solar-Powered Laundromat/Art Gallery

Posted November 5, 2009

  • Posted by: The About Face Collective Solar-Powered Laundromat/Art Gallery and Community Space
  • Organization: The About Face Collective
  • Location: M5T 2G6, Toronto, ON
  • Category: Preserve the Environment
  • Cost: Big ($50,000 – $250,000)

The About Face Collective aims to create an integrated functional and sustainable creative community space with our solar-powered laundromat and art gallery. We know, the elements of this vision seem like an extravagant mix, but we see the unique combination of these bits coming together to create an exciting, progressive and creative space to share and breed even more great ideas in our community. We believe that given the choice and financial ability, most of our friends and neighbours would choose an environmentally and socially responsible option in any scenario, including the energy consumptive but necessary laundry process.

Local Toronto writer Anne Michaels writes in her book Fugitive Pieces, “Make beauty necessary, make necessity beautiful”. We hope to make this necessary activity an opportunity to create, learn and interact. In our constantly busy lives, the half hour that we wait for our laundry to wash and dry is precious. In our space we will provide the option to spend that time engaging with the community, learning about sustainable lifestyle options, and enjoying and supporting local art and organic cafe goods. With the space we aim to:

• Provide an affordable, sustainable and interesting option for those without personal laundry facilities • Provide a unique gallery space and support for local artists • Provide resources on how to implement affordable, sustainable lifestyle options • Provide fair-trade and local café goods along with comfortable seating space to read or relax • Host do-it-yourself creative and environmental workshops, ie; Build a composter for your apartment, Plant your own organic garden, Sustainable silkscreening • Provide unique event space for other local social and environmental initiatives • Install and showcase rooftop organic garden and urban farming education space • Showcase possibilities and inspire others with our sustainable business model

Currently we are interested in a historic building in the downtown core that has two connecting storefront spaces that we have inquired about leasing for a reduced rate.

Now is a great time to invest in alternative energy projects, as Ontario has just passed the internationally acclaimed Green Energy Act, including the feed-in tariff program (see link below) to help local communities make a financially viable switch to solar PV power. Because of the nature of our laundromat project, our retrofit plan includes a mix of solar-thermal panels to heat our water, and solar PV panels to help cover our energy costs. Even without government incentive, the crisis of Global Warming and the depletion of the worlds traditional power resources makes renewable energy projects a must over the next several years. We'd like to promote the necessity of the switch to alternative energies in an exciting, creative and attractive way to the general community.

We are hoping to cover our start-up costs with the generosity of the Aviva Fund!

Costs breakdown:

Overhead costs:

  • Lease deposit (up to) $6,000

  • Equipment purchase and installation costs:

    -Energy-saving washers and dryers $30,000

    -Solar panels and system $52,000

    -Café equipment (coffee & espresso machines, glass & dish ware) $20,000

Renovation costs: $31,000

sustainable retrofit elements:

  • window sealing, insulation

-furniture, cafe bar, lighting, display fixtures, decor*

-exterior decor and signage

• Insurance $5,000

• Security System $2,000 (installation and monthly fees for one year)

• General gallery and business supplies $2,000

• Unexpected costs: $5,000

Total $153,000

*Much of the renovations (ie. furniture, lighting fixtures, etc) will be installed or created by local artists using salvaged and recycled materials as much as possible. This is part of our mandate of sustainability, and will help to keep costs low and beautification high!

We feel confident that once our initial startup costs are covered, we will be able to carry on the business without financial assistance in the years to come based on the money saved in energy costs, increased sales, and also a plethora of other income sources, including:

Revenue sources: • Laundromat machine per-use sales • Eco-friendly detergents and laundry products sales • Café goods sales • Art gallery sales (above average artist compensation) • Event space rental/ Hosting fund-raising events • Workshops (p.w.y.c model)

We hope you will join us and support this project in offering accessible, affordable ways for the average city-dweller to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and support local art.

Thank you! We wish the best of luck to all of the other entries and whatever the outcome, will continue to fundraise to make this space a reality! For more info on The About Face Collective, please visit the following:

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