Linencare is a commercial laundry based in North Geelong, which processes approximately 85,000 kilos of linen per week predominately servicing the HealthCare sector.
Linencare became very aware of the need to conserve water and began to look at initiatives that would result in water savings. Through the Smart Water Fund they sought funding for a project that could reduce water, energy consumption and the environmental impact of its operation.
The project involved the installation of a sedimentation tank installed under the main batch washing system to capture water prior to the filtering process. The water is then pumped through to the Energy Optimiser heat recovery unit, which transfers thermal energy to heat the fresh cold water used in the rinsing process. As the water is pre-heated, the amount of steam injected into the washer to heat the cold water in the washing process is significantly reduced. Higher rinsing temperature also equate to shorter drying times resulting in gas and electricity savings.
Water is then transferred from the Energy Optimiser to an advanced water filtration system know as the Aquamiser. This removes lint, sand and other particles down to 25 microns, so that water can be used in the pre-wash cycle of the continuous batch washer. Excess filtered water is captured and stored in a 8,000L holding tank and can be used later in the pre-wash.
Both the Aquamiser and Energy Optimiser are low maintenance, self-cleaning units that can be switched to manual override in the event of a mechanical failure so there is no interruption to the laundry’s production cycles.
The project has been outstanding success and has achieved a number of water and energy savings:
- Total annual water consumption reduction of 43 per cent – saving more than 28 million litres of water per annum
- Trade waste reduction of 54 per cent
- Steam consumption reduced by 22 per cent
- Gas consumption reduced by 12 per cent
- Electric consumption reduced by 10 per cent
The quality of the water discharged to sewer has also been improved due to the filtration process. The temperature of water discharged to sewer has been reduced by five degrees, and there has been no increase in chemical concentrations to trade waste. The quality of the processed linen remains high, and the continuous batch washer has increased production.
The success of the project and importance of water conservation has been promoted to peak bodies including The Textile Rental Laundry Association and the Victorian Institutional Laundry Association. The project has also been shortlisted and won regional business awards and has been promoted to the Barwon Health workforce as an encouragement for staff to save water.