Is Your Hotel Laundry Equipment Eco-Friendly?

hotel-laundry-equipment.jpgYou’ve managed to impress your guests with a robust recycling program, the option to reuse their towels and organic meal offerings, but your property’s biggest carbon footprint culprit may be something guests can’t see – your hotel laundry equipment. If you haven’t replaced or upgraded your equipment in the last several years, chances are it isn’t up to the latest energy efficiency standards, meaning your property overall isn’t as eco-friendly as it could be.

 As you’re thinking about whether your hotel laundry equipment is eco-friendly, here are some eye-opening statistics to keep in mind:

  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, hotels and lodging businesses make up about 15 percent of the total water consumed in the country’s commercial and institutional settings;
  • Laundry services account for an estimated 15-20 percent of hospitality energy consumption; and
  • Laundry accounts for 16 percent of hospitality properties’ water usage.

To determine if your hotel laundry equipment is eco-friendly, ask yourself – and your facilities manager – these questions:

Do Our Clothes Washers Have the Energy Star Label?

Energy Star is the EPA’s certification program for more than 70 categories of products, from appliances to office equipment. The voluntary program sets energy efficiency standards that each product has to meet in order to earn the bright blue star.

The EPA says that commercial washers with the star are 37 percent more efficient than their non-qualified counterparts. To qualify, front and top loader washers must have a capacity of more than 1.6 cubic feet to earn the star.

How Do Our Commercial Clothes Dryers Stack up to Energy Star-approved Residential Dryers?

Energy Star started certifying household clothes dryers in 2015 but has yet to offer certification for commercial dryers. Some research has suggested that the stringent standards set for residential dryers could be applied to commercial machines as well, so it’s worth taking a look to see how your dryers measure up.

More than 45 models of residential dryers have earned the star, and while they’re comparable to standard dryers in price, they are at least 20 percent more energy efficient. To meet Energy Star’s standards, the residential clothes dryers must have sensors that detect when clothes have reached a certain level of dryness and stop the machine to prevent over-drying. Some certified models also have heat pump technology that recaptures the hot air used by the dryers and pumps it back into the clothes drum.

Does My Current Commercial Washer Meet the Standards Set by the Department of Energy?

While Energy Star is a voluntary program for manufacturers, the Department of Energy also sets energy efficiency standards that are mandatory. The standards for commercial clothes washers have evolved over time, and if you haven’t upgraded in a while, your machines are likely behind the times in terms of meeting current requirements.

More information on the DOE standards for commercial clothes washers can be found here.  There are currently no federal energy efficiency standards for commercial dryers.

Should My Property Consider a Laundry Service Instead?

Maybe you’re already aware that your aging, ecologically unfriendly laundry equipment is literally sending money down the drain. Rather than investing in upgrades, it may be time to shift the laundry burden to a professional service whose business depends on being energy efficient. 

Hospitality laundry services know they need the latest technology to maximize their efficiency, and relying on their expertise can free you up to do what you do best: providing exceptional experiences for your guests.

Now that you’ve got some of the right questions to ask about whether your hotel laundry equipment is eco-friendly, you can go about gathering the answers and assessing whether your property needs to consider upgrades or even outsourcing. Once you make your hotel laundry equipment as sustainable as the rest of your property, you can let guests know that you’re green through and through.