- Created on Tuesday, 02 April 2002 12:51
- Written by Petra Lattmann
When Jerry Mayse first heard about ozone wash systems five years ago, his understanding was that if a system was powerful enough to work for heavy soil and stain conditions, his healthcare facilities would be unable to afford it. As Vice President of Engineering of Harborside Healthcare, which has 50 separate skilled-nursing and long-term care properties ranging from 50 to 360 beds and each producing .5 to 2.3 million pounds of linen per year, Mayse wished they could enjoy the same benefits as healthcare laundries handling 50 million pounds.In June 2001, Mayse’s wish became reality. The TecH2Ozone® laundry system made by Orlando, Fla.-based Agrimond, a wholly owned subsidiary of AJT & Associates, was installed in the Rockledge, Fla. facility (100 beds), followed quickly by a second system placed in the Sarasota, Fla. facility (120 beds) last October. A third system is due for installation in Ocala, Fla. (180 beds) in the beginning of 2002.
“We were looking for a way to control energy costs without compromising laundering quality,” said Mayse. “My primary objective was to offset rising utility costs by reducing consumption.” The system’s key selling point was based on the return on investment (ROI) that could be expected by simply shutting off the hot water to all washers, he said, with an estimated payback in two years -- without factoring in probable chemical and labor savings.”
And Mayse is very pleased with the results so far at the Florida facility. “In all actuality, we have observed a substantial reduction in our natural gas consumption when measuring the therms used over the past six months compared to the same period a year ago, this reduces our exposure to the volatile utility market.
“Our wash cycle was cut from 45 to 25 minutes,” said Mayse, adding that because the detergent and other chemicals are so well flushed from the linens, our drying time is typically reduced by 30 percent as well. This translates to additional savings in electricity, gas, and labor. Fully flushed detergents and chemicals also result in a higher level of linen sterility (less trapped bacteria) and in turn, longer linen life can be expected because residual chemicals are not present to break down the cloth fibers, he added.
Further savings are expected by replacing the bleaching agents with the ozone process and could reduce chemical consumption by as much as 30 to 40 percent in the Rockledge facility, foresees Mayse. “We spent the first couple of weeks with Agrimond adjusting our chemicals and formulations to work with our ozone system,” said Mayse who added that it is important to point out ozone is not a sole means of laundering and stain removals because chemicals are still an important component. “Ozone can however, provide at a minimum, provide results equivalent to conventional laundering. This is accomplished using cold water. Energy savings were our primary objective and we are seeing results.
Water and Sewer Consumption
Mayse noted, The introduction of ozonated water allows for a reduction in the number of fill/drain cycles in the wash formulation, equating to water/sewer savings.
This 100-bed facility utilizes three wash formulations to process a daily average of 9 loads of white towels/sheets, 4 loads of pads, and 2 loads of personal clothing. The annual savings on water/sewer total approximately 360,000 gallons. When considering a linear relationship between the amount of water savings and size of the facility, the larger the facility, the greater the water/sewer savings. And helping along the water usage savings has been a reduction in the rewash rate for stubborn stains from 15 to four percent.
But to Mayse, the final compliment to his new ozone laundry system was when laundry workers at the Rockledge facility noticed the tremendous reduction in residual stains and odors on incontinent pads, a healthcare linen item that represents the highest challenge to any wash system.
“They were truly amazed,” concluded Mayse. “The cooperative effort from our laundry staff, chemical vendors and ozone technical support has brought Harborside Healthcare a viable alternative to higher energy costs. We view ozone laundering as cutting edge technology that not only improves the bottom line but also conserves our precious natural resources.”
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