From alternative energy to water filtration and a variety of natural resource conservation practices, finding new ways to simultaneously protect the environment and accordingly control costs remains a priority for linen, uniform and facility services companies. TRSA members’ exemplary such efforts have been recognized with TRSA Clean Green Innovation Awards, to be presented March 25 at TRSA’s 10th annual Legislative Conference in Washington.
Major sustainability initiatives of New York’s Arrow Linen Supply Co. (food and beverage and hospitality) include a combined heat and power system in the company’s Brooklyn, New York plant that uses exhaust heat from two 150-kilowatt generators to heat boiler feed water. Before this system’s installation, Arrow was operating at 40% energy efficiency; it’s now 66%. In Arrow Linen’s Garden City facility, a 480-kilowatt solar panel system is replacing 73% of the company’s power requirements when combined with new LED lighting installed in 2018. Furthermore, the two installations have also allowed the company to reduce carbon emissions by 578 tons annually. Now being installed is a ceramic microfiltration and reverse osmosis (RO) wastewater treatment system. Such systems filter wastewater particles larger than .05 microns and treat up to 250 gallons per minute (GPM) to produce 225 GPM of filtrate (reusable water). RO filters other harmful particles, resulting in 70% wastewater reuse.
CITY Clean and Simple (CITY Laundering Co.), Oelwein, Iowa, has the state’s largest roof-mounted solar installation, complete with 850 panels, which has offset roughly 14 million pounds of CO2, the emission equivalent of 1,395 cars. Industrial/uniform specialist CITY uses a filtration system that helps save 665,000 gallons of water monthly, as well as enabling recycling of 67 percent of water. A complete LED lighting system saves about 58,000 pounds of CO2 annually. This performance captured the attention Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, who toured the facility. Between LED, solar energy and water filtration, using suppliers’ estimates, CITY has calculated its overall impact over the next 25 years as saving 1,595 acres of trees from being planted, 1,520 passenger vehicles off the road, 7.1 million pounds of coal from being burned and 200 million gallons of fresh water from being used.
PureStar Group green initiatives are reflected in nearly every aspect of the business as management of facilities across the Las Vegas-based hospitality laundry chain implement an ongoing commitment to conserve water, natural gas and electricity. Many operate water reuse systems with reverse osmosis and ceramic filtration to recycle up to 75 percent of our water. In Orlando, a filtration system that reduced gallons per pound of laundry from .8 to .32. Tunnel washers use as little as .3. Facilities typically employ LED lighting and occupancy sensors; exterior lights use high efficiency photocells. Computer components, plastics, metals, shredded papers, and end-of-life linen are recycled. Dry-cleaning operations use EPA-friendly K4 solvent; wash chemistry uses no alkali, sour, or perc. Several PureStar companies participate in EcoDesk for supply chain sustainability, documenting suppliers’ carbon emissions, energy and water use and waste output, for developing improvement goals and sustainability projects.
TRSA associate (industry supplier) member OMNI Services has close to 2,000 ultraviolet light units installed in laundries across the world. This technique creates a secondary oxidizer allowing laundries to use less hot water and less water overall, resulting in a 20 percent or greater utility reduction month after month. Savings are realized immediately upon system installation. Municipalities that verify and prove the validity of the system are offering laundries incentives for such installations. Payback is achieved not only through fuel and water reduction, but a lower wastewater burden (reduced BOD/COD) and greater linen life. It lengthens due to the system’s role in optimizing chemistry and reducing wash temperatures, slowing degradation.
The TRSA Clean Green Innovation Award is the industry’s leading recognition of linen, uniform and facility services companies or facilities that reduce their operations’ environmental impact in one or more ways, often best reflected in reduction of per-laundry-pound use of a single resource (water, energy, chemistry), improved efficiency of a production or service function, or increased discharge control. Use of best management practices described in the TRSA Clean Green standard for certifying linen and uniform service operations is encouraged.