Hospitality Market Case Study
Westin® Riverwalk Cuts Laundry Water Usage: Captures Rebates
April 2012 | Download article as a PDF
Hottest Summer Impacts Aquifer
San Antonio experienced its hottest summer on record in 2011, contributing to the city's shrinking aquifer levels and catapulting water utility costs. To combat the drought, San Antonio's water districts dangled water-conservation incentives before commercial businesses. The Westin Riverwalk Hotel – faced with skyrocketing water costs—moved to remake its laundry. In doing so, the hotel captured a $29,000 rebate from the San Antonio Water System and dramatically cut water costs.
Despite processing around 2.6 million pounds of towels, sheets, robes, and table linens per year, The Westin's laundry slashed water usage by 3.6 million gallons annually.
Measuring Water Usage & Remaking the Laundry
Called upon to help research, plan and implement the new laundry project, Roland Rodriguez of American Laundry Distributors, in San Antonio, worked closely with the Westin's Chuck Espinoza. Prior to making any changes, Rodriguez secured water meters to every washer in the facility to determine which ones used the most water. What he discovered spurred him to recommend the removal of less-efficient washers for water-conserving Continental Girbau models. "The washers we pulled out used an overabundance of water," says Rodriguez. "Using the meters, we were able to provide the city very accurate numbers regarding water usage per pound."
The Equipment Mix
Today, The Westin's laundry features two 130-pound capacity Continental E-Series soft-mount washers; a 55-pound capacity Continental E-Series soft-mount washer; and three 125-pound L-Series hard-mount Continental washers.
Both the L-Series and E-Series Continental washer models offer superior efficiency, performance and programmable controls. Designed for flexibility, the washers meet unique on-premise laundry processing requirements. Everything from water temperature, wash action and fill levels, cycle time, delayed start, automatic cycle advance, automatic chemical injection and extract speed are programmable to properly clean a variety of fabrics. The washers are programmable to cut utility costs and bolster laundry productivity, and both models are engineered to use fewer gallons of water per load. Programmed by item type, the washers automatically inject the appropriate chemicals at the right water level and temperature, at exactly the right time during the wash process—ensuring consistent, high-quality results.
"We've got the washers programmed to complete a wash cycle in 45 minutes," says Rodriguez. "Laundry items come out cleaner and employees deal with far less rewash, which saves time and improves productivity."
The Installation Process
"We installed one Continental soft-mount at a time, then the three Continental L-Series washers," says Rodriguez.
The soft-mount Continental E-Series Washers proved simplest to install, thanks to a freestanding design that eliminates the need for bolting the washers to reinforced concrete foundations. Still, access to the basement-level facility was limited. "The only way you can put any equipment in the laundry is by using a 48 inch service elevator," he says. "All of the old equipment had to be disassembled and taken out. The new equipment was disassembled at our office and reassembled on-site," he adds. To curb water usage further, Rodriguez also installed a water reclamation system and Continental recovery tank. The system reuses washer rinse water and condensate from the air conditioning system. "We recover rinse water from the washers, hold it in the recovery tank, and then reuse it during pre-wash and the main wash," explains Rodriguez. All of the condensate from the air conditioning system is also brought back to the recovery tank and reused. The final rinse is always performed with fresh water.
Despite limited access, Rodriguez and his team performed the installation in just three days—getting the laundry quickly into full service.
The new facility impresses Espinoza and Rodriguez. Thanks to the new Continental washers and reclamation system, the Westin's laundry went from using three gallons of water per laundry pound to just one gallon per laundry pound—an impressive savings. Not only has the laundry cut water usage by 3.6 million gallons of water per year—saving thousands of dollars—its Continental washers deliver a higher quality clean in less time. Productivity has surged, while water, water heating costs, and chemical consumption have dropped.
The Westin® Riverwalk Hotel – named among the World's Best Places to Stay by Conde Nast's Traveler's Gold List – boasts 473 guest rooms and 40 suites; the 760-square-foot Woodhouse Day Spa; and an onsite restaurant, bar, coffee shop and fitness center.
To discover more about the Westin Riverwalk Hotel, visit www.westinriverwalksanantonio.com.