Energy managers in many types of buildings – hotels, prisons, colleges and universities, military installations and others – are charged with washing and drying laundry. It is a big energy drain, and cutting use even a bit positively impacts the bottom line.
Today, American Laundry News posted a story about the benefits automation brings to laundry operations. The metrics are different – the writer discusses “the number of physical touches” and its impact on pounds per operator hour (PPOH) of laundry done – but the idea is the same as other management systems: The less humans have to intercede to reach a desired conclusion, the better the financial picture looks. Automation is the key:
Joe Gudenburr, president of equipment manufacturer G.A. Braun Inc., agrees that automation can afford a laundry operation a great many benefits. Improvements can reduce labor, overall operating hours, and energy, water and chemical consumption, and result in improved inventory control and turn rates and better finished-product quality.
The piece describes what to look for in automated systems, which is similar to systems that oversee building functions. Indeed, there seems to be no reason that laundry automation can’t become a monitored element of building management systems and building automation systems (BMS and BAS).
This week, Newsweek posted a story about the U.K.-based startup Xeros. The company, using technology developed at the University of Leeds School of Textiles, has developed a cleaning system that uses half the energy, half the detergent and 80 percent less water than current systems. The results, according to the director of purchasing for the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, were impressive:
The near-waterless washers use hundreds of thousands of beads. The company claims this method is as gentle on fabrics as hand-washing and therefore does a better job of caring for the material than traditional machines do. The system has the added benefit of preventing a rogue red sock from turning a white laundry load pink—the beads absorb not only dirt but also stray colors. Each batch of beads can be reused hundreds of times.
Xeros’ initial focus was on California due to the drought the state endured. It has 14 installations across the state, the story says.
Laundry that gets washed must get dried as well. Technavio in November released a report on the commercial dryer market. The worldwide value of the market from last to 2020, the report says, will increase from $933.4 million to $1.14 billion. The study says that heat pump condenser driers already common in Europe and Australia will have impact in the United States, where they only entered the market in 2014. Costs of running these devices are as much as 60 percent less than conventional electric driers, the study said.