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Conservation Program Update:LaundryESP, WAVE and DfE

One successful tactic that many managers are employing in an effort to keep their laundry facilities running efficiently and competitively is to join voluntary conservation programs that offer suggestions on how to improve operations in key areas of utility usage.  In this special conservation issue we’ll update you on three conservation programs available to our industry – LaundryESP, WAVE and DfE.

This joint UTSA and TRSA program has asked members to reduce the annual gallons of water and energy consumption used per pound of textiles in their facilities by 10 to 25 percent by 2002. A baseline of laundry utility usage data from 1997-1999 has already been established and represents over 75 percent of all laundry production in the industry.

"Some of our preliminary data [from the baseline] shows that we're headed towards our goals and I expect that we may have already met some of our goals," reported David Dunlap, UTSA's Director, Environmental Affairs & Information Technology. Dunlap added that conclusive results would not be published until the data from more than 700 facilities contributing information could be fully analyzed.

"We want to be secure in what we say. "The program, which began its efforts in September 1999, is now waiting for the 2000 and 2001 data to be submitted by the July 15, 2002 deadline in order to further analyze member's progress. Some measurable results are expected to be published during the next year.

The approximately 10 percent of UTSA and TRSA members not currently enrolled in the LaundryESP program can still participate by gathering the required information from 1997 to 2001. One factor that is making this reporting process easier is a new online data entry website observed Judy Smith, Director of Environmental Affairs at TRSA. More information about the LaundryESP program can be found online at

As part of the EPA's Water Efficiency Program, the Water Alliances for Voluntary Efficiency (WAVE) program, continues to encourage lodging facilities to review their water usage by using the program's free full-service water management software tool to benchmark water use habits and then evaluate options in equipment or operational modifications which could lead to savings.

John Flowers, director of the WAVE program, noted that the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which would take effect in Spring 2003, would curtail the program's original intention to analyze submitted results, but that distribution of the software program would continue. The proposed budget includes a new program that could help laundry facility managers choose more water efficient hardware. "The idea, at least in the planning stages, is to look at investigating water efficient technologies and to keep commercial and institutional sectors up-to-date on changes," said Flowers. The information would eventually be available online at and will include links to other established information sources.

Design for the Environment (DfE):
This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program has its roots in a 1997 effort to begin recognizing chemical formulators who were making an effort to provide more environmentally beneficial detergent surfactant products. There are six fully recognized DfE Detergent Formulator Partners and Recognized Products listed on the DfE website at click on Partnership Projects, Industrial & Institutional Laundry, Partners.

Recently, the program has re-focused its message towards industrial and commercial end-users in an effort to educate them about the availability of these types of products and to encourage them to ask for washroom detergents that are recognized and bear the DfE mark of recognition.

"In laundry formulation, we always figured there are really about 20 significant players and we continue to hope for more partners and products," noted David Di Fiore, senior project manager for the EPA's DfE program. DiFiore added that more environmentally friendly formulas often times cost more and can be a harder sell to laundry managers who must adhere to strict budgets.

The DfE's message is strengthened by a recent report published in Environmental Science & Technology titled, “Pharmaceuticals, Hormones and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999-2000: A National Reconnaissance.” The report indicates that the level of nonylphenol epoxalates (NPEs), a surfactant that becomes more harmful as it breaks down, is present at higher levels than the EPA originally suspected. NPE is used in many washroom formulations, as well as other industrial processes, and was found in 50.6 percent of the 139 streams in 30 states surveyed.

One ally in the DfE's efforts to encourage formulators to offer more environmentally friendly washroom chemical formulations is the LaundryESP program's initiative to encourage participating members to adopt a 10 to 25 percent substitution in use of traditional detergents and also significantly reduce pollutants discharged to sewers. UTSA's Dunlap concluded that all voluntary water and energy conversation programs generate goodwill between the participants and the local regulators who monitor these efforts, an important consideration for laundry managers.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Inmate Crushed By Laundry Equipment

GOOCHLAND, Va. — An inmate at the Virginia Correctional Center died when a shuttle that carried hundreds of pounds of wet laundry from washers to dryers fell upon her. The inmates were conducting repairs on the equipment when it fell and she was trapped underneath. The inmate died from her injuries at the VCU Medical Center