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Want to Reduce Water Usage Costs? Here Are Some Ideas

If you are running a commercial laundry, you are always on the lookout for ways to save time and money. In this type of business, energy consumption makes up a sizeable portion of the operating budget, but valuable savings can also be made in water consumption. In a country as dry as ours, every drop of water is precious and even though at times we seem to be awash with it, we know that dry times are just around the corner.

Start by Assembling Some Factual Data

Like most cost-savings initiatives, it is best to start with a fact-finding exercise. The old business saying, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” applies just as appropriately to a commercial laundry than any other business. Do you have a process for tracking water consumption or does the water bill just get paid without being analysed and compared with earlier bills? Just because it is near budget does not mean it cannot be reduced.

Locate All the Water Meters

Here at NLE Commercial we supply and maintain a range of water-efficient commercial laundry equipment. Long-term customers have told us that managing water consumption is important to the financial success of their businesses. Their process for analysing water usage starts with locating all the water meters relative to their operations.

Look for Evidence of Hidden Leaks

Once that has been done, we recommend that you start collecting data by reading and recording every meter daily if possible, but at least twice a week. A sudden increase in consumption when laundry volumes remain the same points to a hidden leak, which is literally money going down the drain.

Benchmarking and a Water Savings Plan

Now that you have some reliable data, benchmark your business against others in the industry. This allows you to measure your business performance against others, which will highlight inefficiencies. Your water utility company should have benchmark information about your industry, and some of them offer a water management service to help you establish a water saving plan.

Get Ideas from Employees

Review your work methods and examine issues such as the amount of re-wash you are experiencing. A re-wash is water wasted and it may be reduced by a change in work methods. Involve your employees in the process as they may have some excellent ideas to save time, water and therefore money.

Replace Inefficient Washers

If your equipment is getting old, seriously consider replacing inefficient washers. The water efficiency ratings of commercial washers have continued to improve as new models come onto the market. We can help you with the right equipment for your laundry and the volumes you deal with. This is an important part of water efficiency and one that will recoup its initial outlay many times over.

What Does The Future Hold For High Energy Users?

As energy costs continue to rise, every household and business in the country is on the lookout for practical ways to reduce their energy bills. This has provided the impetus for the growth of solar power as an alternative where it is practicable, and the higher the cost of electricity becomes, the more effort is being placed into the development of solar and other renewable energy sources.

What is the E3 Program?

To assist consumers to make energy efficient choices, the E3 Program was created in conjunction with Australian state and territory governments and the government of New Zealand. Its aim is to improve the efficiency of appliances in both countries to reduce energy bills and control emissions.

The Purpose of Energy Rating Labels

The major initiative and the one most familiar to consumers is the Energy Rating label that communicates the energy efficiency of an appliance by labelling it with a rating using stars. The higher the number of stars on the label, the more energy efficient the appliance, meaning lower energy bills and less emissions in the environment.

There are six-star and ten-star versions of the Energy Rating label, which also shows the annual energy consumption of every labelled appliance in kilowatts. This system provides consumers, retailers and suppliers with the information they need to make informed decisions when purchasing, selling and installing appliances.

Every Choice is Important

NLE Commercial provides electrical contracting services, and supplies laundry and cleaning equipment to commercial laundries. We are familiar with the E3 Program and the Energy Rating labelling system and we choose, where possible, only those appliances that have the highest energy ratings.

By supplying energy efficient appliances, we are assisting our clients to reduce their costs, which, in turn, help to make their businesses more profitable, and contribute to an overall reduction in emissions. This is one small way in which we can have a positive effect on the environment while keeping our customers happy.

Cleaning Equipment not a Major User of Energy

Most of the energy costs incurred by homes and businesses involve the use of heating and cooling appliances such as hot water systems and air conditioners. Commercial laundries use hot water in their washers and heating in the dryers, so it is in our best interests to help them reduce their energy consumption. Cleaners are not as hungry when it comes to using power, but every action contributes towards reducing the overall electricity bill.

As the effects of our warming atmosphere become more noticeable, pressure will build on businesses and households to do more to keep temperatures under control. We will be in the forefront of initiatives like the E3 Program to help our customers continue running successful businesses.

How Did We Ever Cope Without Washing Machines?

Have you ever loaded the family laundry into your washer, set the controls and walked away only to return, not to clothes ready to dry, but to a wet, soggy bundle? You contact a repairer who can’t help until tomorrow, but today you need to get the laundry washed and dried.

Hand Washing is Tedious and Labour-Intensive

After washing every single item by hand, rinsing in clean water and wringing the water out of each item by hand, you hang the washing outside. Fortunately, it is a sunny day, but it still takes hours to dry, because hand wringing it not nearly as effective as spin drying. Welcome to the tedious, labour-intensive method of washing before washing machines were invented.

Manufacturing Advances Reduce the Need for Labour

If you have been unlucky enough to be in this situation, you will appreciate the advances in manufacturing that created all the labour-saving devices we use. Whether it is for the home or for use in a commercial laundry, the washing machine is an excellent example of those advances and an essential appliance for a number of reasons.

NLE Commercial supplies and services commercial washers for a range of situations so we are in a perfect position to observe and comment on the advantages they offer our clients. We supply to laundromats, hospitals, hotels, care homes and other places where a constant supply of clean and hygienic linen is essential to smooth operations.

Washing Machines Produce Clean, Germ-Free Results

Without washing machines, supplying large volumes of laundry every day would be expensive, labour intensive and unhygienic. Hand washing may be suitable for some home situations, but only a machine can generate the agitation necessary to produce the cleanliness and germ-free standards required by commercial laundry operations.

Pre-programmed Washing Cycles Set and Forget

Washing machines have a range of different settings to suit every fabric and every situation. They can be programmed for specific wash cycles, and to deliver washing products at various stages, so there is no need for someone to be present until the load is ready for drying. This makes labour available to perform other tasks while the cycle is running.

How Washing Machines make Dryers More Efficient

In a commercial situation, machines are also used for drying each load. Dryers are high users of energy, so they are more cost-effective if they are efficient. Here again, the washing machine assists by spinning most of the moisture out in the final spin cycle. The washing machine creates the efficiency by reducing the drying time.

When we perform our regular machine services, our clients tell us that without the quality washing machines we supply, they could not provide the quality of service that their clients expect of them.

Simple Solutions Make Stored Linen Smell Inviting

Despite the best efforts of even the most fastidious housekeeper, there will come a day when you open your linen cupboard full of fresh, clean towels, sheets et cetera. to find a musty smell wafting through the air. This is a common problem and is often caused by mould. Even though the linen is clean, the air in the space contains moisture and in the right conditions, this can allow mould spores to multiply.

Kill Dangerous Mould with a Bleach Solution

Mould is dangerous to health if left unchecked so remove the clean linen and wipe out the inside walls and shelving with bleach mixed with water. This will kill mould but you will need to leave the doors open for several hours to dry the shelves. Once the whole area is dry, return the clean linen to the shelves.

Baking Soda Soaks up Moisture

Unfortunately, in humid climates there is always moisture in the air so this will keep recurring unless you take further steps. One effective and inexpensive solution is to leave an opened container of baking soda in the back of the cupboard to dispel moisture.
Many of our clients operate commercial laundries and have the same problems as householders in keeping supplies of stored linen fresh and ready to use. At NLE Commercial we supply clients with washers and dryers, and also provide electrical services to keep their laundry equipment operating. Over the years, they have given us a few tips on linen storage, which we are happy to share.

Don’t Overstuff the Storage Space

They tell us that stored linen needs space for air to circulate to keep items smelling fresh. Packing too much into the space and over-stuffing the shelves prevents that gentle circulation so the cupboard develops a stale smell.

Store Clean Items Only

We also know that only clean items should be stored away. Sometimes we use an item, for example, a tablecloth, and when we clear the table it still looks clean. We decide to just fold it and put it back in the linen cupboard rather than wash it. However, it only needs a tiny stain or drop of moisture on the item to allow mould to grow and the musty smell to return.

Keep Linen Fresh without Buying Fancy Products

We can also pass on some ways to have linen smell fresh without using products containing expensive perfumes. An old trick used by our grandmothers is to store bath soaps among the clean linen. If you like scented candles, buy a few extra to keep on hand, and store them with the linen. The pleasant aromas will linger in the storage space and your linen will always smell inviting.