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Laundries use large volumes of water with potential for significant water and cost savings

Water usage breakdown

Where does the water in a Non-Residential Laundry go? A water balance allows the total water use within an organisation to be contextualised, including areas that might otherwise be overlooked.

In a typical Non-Residential Laundry, the washing process represents 90-92% of water used, steam generation accounts for 5-8% and ancillary water use makes up 2-3%. It is conceivable, then, that the greatest potential savings will be found within the washing process. However, simple and cost effective savings can be also found in steam system design and maintenance.

Typical Non-Residential Laundry water balance

In the case of Non-Residential Laundry it would be easy to overlook the major contribution from steam generation within a facility's water consumption. Water conservation initiatives targeting ancillary water use may not initially appear to deliver significant savings. However, with ancillary water use proportional to the large volumes used in the washing process, it can in fact be as much as 3,000kL per year.

Benchmarks and efficiency ratings – what might you expect?

Several benchmarking studies have worked to establish ‘good practice’ guidelines within the Non-Residential Laundries industry, resulting in standardised benchmarks for washer-extractors and continuous batch washers.

For washer-extractors, a range of 17-22 L/kg is considered good performance without the application of water conservation techniques.

For continuous batch washers the established benchmark is 7.5-12L/kg.

When integrated with rinse water collection and reuse, washer extractor consumption can drop to 12-15 L/kg.

Applying recycling systems to continuous batch washers can further improve water efficiency by 40-80% (system dependent) resulting in a performance range of 1.5 to 4.5 L/kg of linen processed.

The following statistics provide a guide to water efficiency within each of the laundry segments. They are based on whole laundry performance and include the effects of specific technology and rewash rates.

Best practice water efficiency within the Non-Residential Laundry sector

Non-Residential Laundries reports

Follow the links below to download PDF reports and fact sheets about water efficiencies in the Non-Residential Laundry sector.

The following documents provide a valuable insight based on extensive research in the Laundry industry. In order to avoid confusion it should be noted that the following documents contain branding and webpage references that are no longer current. The ‘Our Water Our Future’ branding, the ‘Victoria The Place To Be’ branding and the ‘Making Water Work’ website are not current Victorian State Government programs.

Laundries Best Practice Guidelines (pdf 684.5 KB)

Designed to assist the laundry manager assess their own operation and to provide a plan for practical changes that will save money whilst maintaining product quality.

Using Chemicals (pdf 422.7 KB)

Recent developments in low alkaline, low temperature wash formulas have reduced rinsing requirements, the need for hot water and cycle times, whilst increasing linen life expectancy.

Front loaders vs Top loaders (pdf 322.4 KB)

Advantages of front loader washing machines are broader than you might realise, not just using less water but they also don’t create lint or fluff, they increase the life of your clothes and create better wash quality.

Ozone (pdf 403.6 KB)

Ozone laundering allows cold water washing with significantly reduced water consumption, while guaranteeing bacteria and virus kill, significant energy savings as well as increased linen life. Ozone attacks most organic soils and kills bacteria 3200 times faster than chlorine bleach.

Laundries Water Efficiency Program - Options Report (pdf 2.2 MB)

This report was commissioned by the Victorian State Government and delivered by Yarra Valley Water. The report identified water efficiency options for the Non-Residential Laundry sector. Analysis and recommendations were made based on widespread industry applicability as well as their costs, benefits and financial efficiency.