Laundries in commercial premises are significant users of water and producers of wastewater. Reducing your business' consumption of water in its laundry process will reduce fresh water and wastewater bills.
Before you make any changes to how your laundry facility uses water, it is a good idea to perform a water audit and create a benchmark of your water use that you can measure against - see how to monitor your water use.
Re-washing and programme selection
One of the main reasons that your business could be wasting water in its laundry facility is because washing is continuing longer than necessary. Your business should aim for a rate of 3-5 per cent of items that need rewashing. A rate of less than 3 per cent indicates you are over-washing. A rate of more than 5 per cent indicates inadequate washing.
It is important that you use the correct washing programme to ensure no excessive water or detergent is being used. When you are choosing a programme, you should consider the:
- soiling level of the load and its overall weight
- appropriate level of detergent that should be used
- programme time that each load runs for
Efficient use of detergent and softeners
It is important that you use the correct detergent for each load and it is not used excessively. Using too much detergent increases costs and can require each load to be rinsed for longer. Consider:
- automating detergent doses, as this can be more accurate
- using low-temperature detergents, as they reduce energy costs, may rinse more easily, reduce the risk of colour run and retain better colour brightness
- checking that auto dosing pumps are delivering the correct volume
- setting chemical dosing pumps for low, medium and high dip washes
Using a softener with each washing load can deliver a number of key advantages that include:
- reduced levels of detergent use, which then requires less water to rinse
- reduced scale build-up, which prolongs the life of machinery and reduces the likelihood of leaks
As water softeners require regular regeneration of ion exchange columns, make sure you:
- check the salt levels on a daily basis
- avoid manual or timed regeneration as this can be wasteful
- replace the ion exchange resin when necessary
Tax breaks for water-efficient laundry equipment
Laundry equipment may be eligible for tax allowances under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme - see first-year allowances for water efficient technologies.