How do we define laundry sustainability? Let's start with what it isn't.
Sustainable laundry is not simply using cold water in wash cycles or low heat when drying. It isn't hotels asking guests to re-use towels. It isn't commercial launderers switching to a more eco-friendly detergent type.
Truly sustainable laundry is much more than that.
A Sustainable Laundry Revolution
When the Department of Energy updated its standards for power usage in household appliances in the mid-1990s, it changed the way people thought about their laundry. The federally-sponsored Energy Star program started applying its signature star emblem to washing machines, and by 2005 about 15% of U.S. households had switched to energy-efficient washers.
It was a big step forward for laundry sustainability, but it certainly wasn't the end of the road.
Aside from energy usage, a major concern—particularly for the hospitality industry—was water usage. According to the EPA, hotels and other lodging providers use approximately 15% of the total water used in commercial and institutional facilities in the U.S. The new high-efficiency trend was making its way from households to businesses, but the focus was on conserving energy, not water, and our global water supply is dwindling.
The problem there is that water and energy usage are inextricably linked in laundry operations. A large percentage of the energy used in commercial and hotel laundry operations is used to heat up the water used in each cycle. Without reducing water usage, you can only get so far with reducing energy.
For laundry businesses, and hospitality businesses that include laundry operations, true sustainability means considering all sides of conservation. That translates to limiting energy and water, as well as focusing on environmentally-friendly processes. It's about finding a holistic solution, not fixing one piece of the puzzle.
How to Make Your Laundry Operation Sustainable
Traditional commercial laundry machines are notoriously wasteful, particularly when it comes to water and energy use. However, there are ways to reduce that waste and make your laundry operation more sustainable.
Step #1: Use cold water whenever possible
Water isn't the only resource gobbled up in laundry operations. It takes a surprising amount of energy to heat the water used in traditional washing machines, and cold water is just as effective at disinfecting linens.
Step #2: Monitor your usage
Do you know what your laundry is costing your business? We’re willing to bet it’s more than you think. Today's technology gives us the chance to not only better monitor the cost of laundry operations, but the usage of individual resources. An AHLA survey found that for hotels, both in-room energy sensors and whole building energy management systems are becoming more common, and laundry software solutions allow you to take the same control over your hotel laundry service.
Step #3: Upgrade to low-water laundry machines
With Hydrofinity near-waterless laundry systems, you save water, energy and detergent on every load. You can reduce energy usage in your laundry operations by up to 50%, and water usage by up to 80%.
Hydrofinity's Mission: Laundry Sustainability
By helping our customers reduce their environmental footprint while creating substantial cost savings in their laundry operations, we'll begin to change the conversation in commercial laundry to focus on water conservation and ongoing sustainability.
Get in touch with our team to learn more, and join the sustainable laundry revolution.