13 Jul Water Footprint In Laundry Machines
The hospitality industry is one of the heaviest users of commercial laundry machines. Every day, thousands of pounds of laundry are washed in hotels worldwide, and laundry operations are one of the largest sources of water consumption in hotels. While it is important to provide guests with clean and hygienic linens and towels, it is equally important to reduce the unnecessary wastage of water in laundry operations in order to optimize water and energy usage.
The basic principle behind the operation of typical laundry machines is the washing-extracting mechanism that utilizes a rotating drum to agitate the laundry with water and detergent during the wash cycle. After the wash cycle, fresh water is used for final rinse prior to water extraction via high-speed rotation.
There are generally two types of laundry machines: top-loading and front-loading machines. Front-loading machines use less water and detergent than top-loading machines since they do not require filling the entire drum which is required in top-loading machines. Front-loading
machines can use 60 percent less water than top-loading machines. As an added bonus, front-loading machines can be stacked, which saves space.
Commercial laundry washing-extracting machines range in size from 25 to 400 dry pounds of laundry per load and use anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 gallons of water per pound of laundry. This can translate to as much as 1,400 gallons of fresh water per load which is a significant quantity of fresh water.
One practical method of saving water in commercial laundry machines is by installing a computer-controlled rinse water reclamation system. This system diverts the rinse water to a storage tank for later use as wash water for the next laundry load. Rinse water reclamation systems can reduce water usage by up to 30 percent compared to standard machines that discharge the rinse water to the sewer.
Another simple yet highly effective method for reducing water consumption in hotels is by educating guests about the environmental footprints of laundry operations and by encouraging guests to minimize the requirements for fresh towels and linens. It is estimated that an average-sized hotel comprising of 150 rooms can save as much as $30,000 annually in operating costs if 65% of its guests simply participate in a linen-reuse program.
The nice feature about education campaigns is that they require minimal investment. In addition, promoting water conservation and enhanced environmental footprint projects a positive image of the hospitality establishment and its commitment to sustainability.