Last year, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) launched its Responsible Stay initiative to further strengthen efforts in the area of sustainability. The result has been a renewed commitment by hoteliers to implement strategies to increase efficiency and reduce their impact on the environment.
The move comes as most brands and independent properties have already made steps in this arena, evident in linen reuse programs, CFLs, and other cost/utility-saving measures. But we can always do more.
AHLA’s Responsible Stay initiative is focused on four areas:
- Water Conservation
- Waste Reduction
- Responsible Sourcing
No doubt, much attention will be directed at the guest room, but a hotel property’s laundry room offers opportunities to further Responsible Stay goals. Below are some thoughts for hoteliers in each area.
- Full loads only. Make sure staff are utilizing the full capacity of washer-extractors and tumble dryers. Underloading wastes energy and utilities.
- Eliminate over-drying. Many on-premises laundries are over-drying loads. That means the tumbler is running longer than it needs to. Lean on technology to dry to a set moisture level and then begin the cool-down process.
- Check venting. Make sure tumbler venting is clear and lint drawers are emptied regularly. This ensures dryers are running at peak efficiency.
- Check the lights. Your guest rooms have been the focus with CFLs and LEDs, but don’t forget to install energy-efficient lights here.
- Reduce cycle times. Opt for equipment with fast cycle times (fast fills and drains are key in this area). Bottom line: equipment that is running less helps save energy.
- Full loads. As mentioned above, make sure you are using the full capacity of washer-extractor.
- Spray rinse. Washer-extractors with a spray rinse feature save water versus a bath rinse (think shower versus bath). An added benefit is the rinse cycle is faster because the machine doesn’t need a full cylinder fill.
- Sort and use correct cycles. Make sure staff are sorting items by type and soil level, as well as selecting the correct cycle. Doing this helps net the best clean results and prevent re-wash loads. While re-washing can be a fact of life in on-premises laundries, anything staff can do to prevent it helps save water, time, utilities and maximizes linen life.
- Great care. As mentioned above, proper sorting, selecting the correct cycles, and preventing rewash all contribute to great quality. Linens that get a tailored approach last longer. That means linens don’t need to be replaced as often.
- Proper dosing. Work with your chemical company to ensure proper dosing of laundry chemicals for cycles. Proper dosing means less waste.
- Spring for quality. This may seem obvious, but for many properties, laundry equipment can be viewed as a commodity – its all the same. However, investing in truly industrial laundry equipment helps ensure a long life, meaning it isn’t being replaced and filling a landfill every few years.
- Choose a reputable partner. Working with laundry equipment suppliers that are dedicated to going the extra mile for employees (think safety initiatives), the environment – this means not just building efficient equipment, but employing manufacturing practices that are efficient. Look to see if they detail their activities to do business at the highest ethical standards. Do they have an ESG report that tracks their efforts?
AHLA’s Responsible Stay initiative is a great opportunity for hoteliers to do a deep dive look at their properties and devise activities in support. Don’t forget to take a look in the laundry room for additional actions. To learn more about the AHLA’s Responsible Stay charge, click here.