Sustainability tips for hotel laundry

How often are efficiency and saving money linked in the hotel industry? If a property can save money on utilities costs while benefiting the environment and creating more effective processes, such as what is possible in laundry services, it presents an opportunity not to be missed.

Rick Kelly, VP of marketing and sales administration for Pellerin Milnor, a provider of commercial and industrial laundry equipment, believes the greatest threat to sustainability in laundry services rests on hotels not fully loading washers and dryers to their rated capacity during a given cycle. Under-loaded machines use more water than necessary during their wash, which adds up during the process. Additionally, pre-programmed machines may not be altered frequently enough to allow for different load sizes.

“The machine won’t be able to tell the difference,” Kelly said. “Operators push formula numbers in and are done, and if they are doing that they should fill the machine up to save time and energy.”

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Dryers also have a 20- to 30-percent larger capacity than the average washer, allowing for a larger load than the washer. “The programming of a [property’s] washer is the most overlooked barrier to efficiency,” said Bill Brooks, national sales manager for industrial laundry distributor UniMac. Brooks attributes this to the hotel requiring a chemical supplier and laundry equipment manager to be present to help with calibration.

“Most properties that are wasteful with water don’t know it; most of them don’t even know about their cycles, and won’t look to re-program them,” Brooks said. He recommends researching how many rinse steps are taking place in a given wash, offering that the most efficient washes have two towel cycles for dirty and lightly soiled towels.

“There is no need for an aggressive wash on lightly soiled towels,” Brooks said. “Most towels are not dirty, mostly just touching the floor when the gust is finished with them.”

Joel Jorgensen, VP of sales and customer services for Continental Girbau, a manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment, recognized that some properties skipped the drying cycle entirely, opting instead to go directly to ironing clothes. “This is effective time- and labor-wise if sized properly for a hotel,” Jorgensen said. He estimated that skipping a step to dry, iron and fold flatgoods could possibly improve efficiency and reduce time taken in properties with as many as 400 rooms.

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