This Web Exclusive article is contributed by Chuck Melton, North American sales manager for the multi-housing division of Speed Queen, a provider of laundry equipment and technologies. He has more than 38 years of experience in the laundry industry.
New Technologies in School Laundries Provide Increased Energy Efficiencies, Management Capabilities
Every university and college is looking for ways to reduce operating costs while continuing to provide high quality services to students. Typically, schools start looking for cost saving measures with utilities. Many have already implemented eco-friendly or green initiatives campus wide, such as replacing windows, installing energy efficient furnaces, and adding solar panels and green roofs. But one area may have been overlooked, and with upgrades it has the potential to save thousands of dollars a year.
Student laundry facilities use an enormous amount of water, gas and, electricity each year. While newer machines help to reduce these costs, some manufacturers offer advanced control technologies that help reduce utility costs while simplifying the laundry process for students.
With newer controls, universities and colleges now have many more options for managing their laundry. Cutting-edge microprocessor controls give facility managers (fms) increased ability to reduce energy and water costs through advanced programmability. And with management capabilities, fms can access automated secured audit reports that are generated on machines. This provides insight on collections and usage, helping to manage the laundry aspect of the university’s and college’s business.
Energy usage can also be reduced, or at minimum fully funded, with cycle modifier options. With advanced controls, fms can set higher prices for hot water usage. They can also set prices for medium and heavy soiled clothing that needs to be washed longer, which provides a way to pay for the increased energy needed to run a longer cycle.
Housing is important to prospective students, and one way to appeal to their need for technology in the laundry room is with the addition of add-on control option. For instance, one Internet-based site allows students to log-on and check the availability of laundry machines on the campus right from the comfort of their dorm room. They can also receive text messages that alert them when their laundry is done, so they can manage other tasks in between cycles.
Before choosing a brand of machines for student laundry facilities, fms and administrators should also make sure the washers and dryers are built on a commercial platform. Some manufacturers put their residential machines with a vended option in student housing facilities. However, commercial machines are more reliable and durable because they are built to withstand the rigors of multiple cycles.
Before a school can make the necessary upgrades to its laundry room, it needs to contract with the right laundry service provider. When looking through Request for Proposals, fms should look for a provider that offers multi-housing laundry equipment built on a commercial platform to support these advanced control technologies. They should be knowledgeable of cutting-edge technologies and able to customize a laundry room to specific needs. A laundry service provider can supply fms with a cost analysis, which can serve as supporting evidence fms may need to highlight the potential savings.