I read an excellent article on laundry costs and laundry water recycling on the Alliance for Water Efficiency’s website, and thought it would be worth sharing, as it specifically mentions membrane filter technology as an effective way of recycling laundry water.
The article starts by making some fairly obvious points to anyone who’s in the business, such as:
- Quality comes first; whatever water conservation measures you use, they can’t interfere with the effectiveness of cleaning fabrics. You can only reduce your water use per pound of laundry to a certain point (approximately 2 gallons per pound of laundry; lower if fabrics are heavily soiled) before quality starts to suffer.
- Water represents more than 50 percent of the total operating costs for most commercial laundries.
- Most commercial facilities have the potential to conserve more water than they currently do.
- Commercial laundries have a tough cleaning job to do. Compared to average residential laundry challenges, these high-volume facilities deal with greater concentrations and wider varieties of dirt, food, chemicals, grime, bacteria, grease, stains and biohazards.
The big question is: what recycling technology to use? The article points to two strong candidates as offering exciting opportunities to advance clothes washing efficiencies: ozonation and membrane filtration.
Membrane filtration, in particular, is showing great promise in our research at AWPI. We already have a working prototype for this general type of technology that’s functioning quite well in a food processing application (with sanitation challenges much greater than those encountered in laundry water recycling).
Soon we’ll be setting up our laundry prototype in partnership with a large commercial laundry in Georgia. It’s a different application, yes, and some tweaks will be required, but the basic functionality is the same. The outlook is good; the cost savings of the system will be significant enough to allow operators to recover installation costs in the first few months of operation.
You can read the referenced article here: http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/commercial_laundry.aspx.