Many people would like to take their facility’s ‘green’ but aren’t sure where to start. The process can be overwhelming at first but it’s definitely worth it for the environment, for future generations – and for your pocketbook
The greening of Reino Linen Service, Inc., is a process that Judy Reino, President, Leonard Reino, CEO, and Don Pedder, COO, have undergone at the company’s two healthcare facilities, the headquarters in Gibsonburg, Ohio, and the plant in Brownstown, Michigan. The three environmentally conscientious laundry executives began instituting green initiatives in 2007and they haven’t stopped yet.
“Leonard, Don and I felt that it was the responsible thing to do,” says Judy. “Our first plant was opened in 1943 in the middle of Gibsonburg, a small community. We’ve always felt a responsibility to the people in the community to do the right thing; to protect the water source and air. Going green was a natural step which was in line with our way of thinking.”
And the first steps were baby steps explains Judy. “We began making the facilities environmentally friendly by changing the lights. Then we instituted more and more changes.” The changes that followed included a transition that replaced aging machinery. “I wanted to reduce operating, utility and labor costs,” says Leonard. “We did that by having the State come in and perform a study on electricity, water and gas usage. They came up with formulas and equipment suggestions. We replaced finishing equipment, air compressors and installed tunnels. One new ironer line in itself saved a lot in labor. “
“But it’s not about the amount of money saved,” cautions Don Pedder who spearheaded the work in the Brownstown plant and was the push behind the company moving towards green chemicals. The company presently uses Diamond Chemicals in their laundering process. “Costs are different in all locations of the United States so you really can’t talk dollars and cents. What people in the laundry business can relate to is the amount of resources saved or conserved.”
Presently the Gibsonburg facility processes 23 million pounds per year of healthcare goods and the Brownstown laundry processes 22 million pounds. In the Gibsonburg plant, Pellerin Milnor and Chicago equipment dominate the laundry floor. The Brownstown facility, completed in 2009, boasts all Kannegiesser equipment. The new tunnels that were installed lowered water usage from 1.10 gallon per pound to ¾ per pound – a savings of ten million gallons a year.
But it isn’t all about – the laundry. What sounds like a simple thing, training employees to recycle cans and other recyclable materials is also part of the plan. “Some people say they’re going green but they don’t take the time to investigate all the areas. Just trying to get a collection process on a consistent basis can be a difficult transition,” says Don. “It took three months to get team members used to the collection process. We have a four person committee overseeing both plants that follows this through, day after day.” In the first year of the program, 176,000 pounds of plastic, cardboard and paper were collected and recycled.
Today, both the Gibsonburg and Brownstown plants are green. The same programs are operating in both locations. Let’s take a look at the steps that were taken in the facilities and how the greening process evolved. Keep in mind, financial savings should be based upon the costs for your geographic location.
EIGHT STEPS TO GOING GREEN
Energy Efficiency Lighting Update - September 2007 Replaced (100) 400 watt metal halide light fixtures with (100) T8 light fixtures in the Gibsonburg plant. Energy Savings: (100) 400 watt fixtures=45,100 watts (100) T8 fixtures=13,600 watts 45,100 – 13,600=Savings of 31,500 watts Burn time of 7,800 hours per year. 31,500 watts x 7,800 hours= 245,700 KWH/year savings
Energy Efficiency Update to Air Compressor - September 2007 Replaced 100 hp air compressor with a new 75 hp variable speed air compressor at Gibsonburg. Energy Savings: 100 HP compressor consumption was 474,168 KWH/Year New 75 HP compressor consumption is 119,635 KWH/Year 474,168 – 119,635=354,533 KWH/ year savings
Tunnel Upgrade Gibsonburg - May 2007 Energy, labor and water efficiencies.
Dryer Upgrade Gibsonburg - May 2007 Energy, labor and gas efficiencies.
Installation of New Stack Economizer Gibsonburg - April 2010 The Kemco equipment has a 65 percent system efficiency.
Transitioned to Green Chemicals - September 2009 An environmentally friendly program manufactured by Diamond Chemical.
- Recyclable Bag Program – October 2009 Bags are picked up, saving the customer disposal costs. Used bags are melted, processed and reused. This reduces medical waste and avoids filling landfills where they contribute to pollution. 8. Ramped up the Reino Recycling Program – January 2010 A recycling committee was created at both Reino plants. A reputable recycler was found who was willing to work with both locations. Efforts were initiated to recycle paper, plastic and cardboard. Recyclable containers were installed at both plants.
After having the experience of taking the Gibsonburg plant green, the trio was challenged with making the Brownstown facility green, a project spearheaded by Don. They met that challenge with flying colors. The latest energy efficient equipment was installed including a Kemco heat recovery system. Heat is reused from the boiler room and air compressor to heat the plant during the winter months. Green chemicals are used in the laundry process and the recycling program for bags, paper plastic and cardboard was instituted.
Are we there yet? Not really says Judy. “We are in the process of approaching each of the laundry’s suppliers to request an outline of their Green initiatives. And in the future we plan to incorporate green initiatives into our company contracts. It’s definately an ongoing process. But it’s definately a worthwhile process.”
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