Water, Water Everywhere, But Not Enough to Waste
By Joseph Ricci President & CEO, TRSA | April 26, 2015
Water conservation has long been a key sustainability mandate for businesses. It is clear all businesses must do their part to reduce water consumption, not only for sustainability and the greater good but also for the good of their local communities and the longevity of their businesses.
With so many factors to control, reducing water consumption can be a difficult practice for the hospitality industry. Hotel guests are not incentivized to conserve in the same manner they would at home, where they pay the water bill. So how do you conserve water without inconveniencing guests or sacrificing cleanliness? Fortunately, your laundry and linen operations afford you a prime opportunity to reduce water and sewer usage without your guests ever noticing a difference.
In fact, laundry services can be a driver of sustainability, rather than a drag on your carbon footprint. The commercial laundry professionals with whom I work have been making a business out of sustainable water and energy usage for decades. Let's take a look at how improved laundry practices can reduce water consumption in hospitality settings.
Water Use in Hotels
In the United States, hotels account for a whopping 15 percent of the total water used in commercial and institutional settings. According to the EPA (1) most of that water devoted to hospitality is for restrooms, showers and cleaning. Not surprisingly, landscaping and laundry tie for second. In fact, the EPA says laundry accounts for 16 percent of the water used in hotels. Presumably this figure is based on laundering performed in on-premise laundries (OPL); therefore, hotels that outsource laundry would use less.
These figures are averages and estimates, of course, so if you want a more precise idea of the water usage in your hotel, I recommend giving the EPA's WaterSense WaterUSE tool(2)a try.