Innovative measures for energy misers

9 February 2021

Laundries looking for energy savings can take heart from developments by well-known names that are helping to boost hot water delivery performance while conserving cash

Saving energy is about a lot more than just keeping an eye on the meter, whether it is fuel or water, and switching lights off. For larger textile care businesses a few pennies saved in different areas can turn into many more pounds staying in the bank, while for smaller operations sensible planning and adopting newer practices can be the difference between sink or swim in these difficult times.

In this feature LCN takes a look at three different water heating systems and also at how important it is to get the chemical mix right. ‘Hi-tech’ is playing an increasing role in the laundry industry. In order to maintain standards, achieve sustainability goals and remain profitable, technology is now a crucial part of life in the laundry.

Simon Wilson, company general manager at Imperial Linen Services in Mansfield how the company has embraced technology and helped keep this fifth-generation family business ahead of the game.

Imperial Linen first opened in 1906, over a century ago, when the first all-metal machines were being introduced and tallow soap and soda ash were used, prior to the emergence of specialist soap companies. Still in the same family, Imperial Linen has come a long way, offering healthcare laundry, linen hire and contract laundry services to customers up and down the A1/M1 corridor and out to the east coast, including the Ministry of Defence and numerous engineering and manufacturing companies.

Wilson started out with the company over 30 years ago in the old wash house and now handles a team of over a hundred staff and a delivery fleet of 15 vehicles. “Like any long-running business, equipment has to be replaced at some point and in 2019 our old heat recovery unit was at the end of its life. We decided to look at a whole new heat and water recovery system to bring things up to date and allow us to improve on efficiency and reduce costs.

“It was quite a step but with the increased pressure from customers regarding our environmental policies plus our commitment to a more sustainable practice, this seemed like the best solution.”

Imperial has worked with Christeyns for over a decade, using its range of detergents but were unfamiliar with the other services the firm offered. The engineering team from Christeyns initially carried out a full assessment of the Imperial site, providing recommendations and costings. Wilson was happy with the resulting proposal and funding package they presented and in summer 2019 a Heat-ex Energo and water management system was installed.

The Heat-ex, see main illustration on facing page, is an energy saving unit that recovers heat from wastewater and transfers that energy into the incoming fresh water, saving on average 50% on energy usage in the wash process. The heated fresh water is used for warm rinsing which increases the efficiency of the rinsing process and thus a reduction in water consumption.

Warm rinsing increases textile temperature and press efficiency and with less moisture retention in the linen, drying times are reduced providing an additional cost saving, as well as increasing drying capacity.

The aim of the water management system installed at Imperial was to reduce the freshwater consumption on the CBW’s from 6.5L/kg to 4.5L/kg by recovering and filtering water from the CBW and then re-using said water in the rinse process. Christeyns expect this to reduce even further as the system continues to bed in.

Anticipated annual savings are as follows: a total water saving of over 12,000m3 a year, a total energy saving of 1550 MWh per annum with a carbon reduction of 295 tonnes a year.

To date the Heat-ex Energo has saved over £15k for Imperial. A year later in summer 2020, Imperial looked to Christeyns to install a new dosing system for the sites’ washers and extractors and a starch speed flush system to the CBW’s and washer extractors.

“Detergent and chemical dosage is now much more accurate and we have no wastage. We have full traceability of the dosing at all times and it provides an optimal safety situation for our staff,” continues Wilson.

“We needed to be more efficient to stay in the market, to be able to offer our customers a top-class service but at an acceptable price. These upgrades allow us to do just that. Our environmental policies and the steps we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint plays a crucial part when pitching for tenders with large group work and now we can say, with hand on heart, that we are doing our bit.”

Imperial Linen remained open through the lockdown period, with its healthcare business ticking over. As with all laundries, changes have had to be made in the way they operate, with the introduction of PPE and increased sanitation, including cleaning regimes for the fleet vans.

Full On Financial Help

Fulton managing director Carl Knight announced in August that the company would cut the gross margin on its VSRT steam boiler until the end of December, saying:: “Given the exceptional nature of recent events and the struggle many businesses find themselves in, we have decided to launch an initiative designed to help the many key sectors that have themselves been assisting the wider population during the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

“We know from a recent surge in demand for servicing and maintenance that many of our customers in these sectors are operating steam boilers that are ageing and, in some cases, need replacing; and others who need to expand their capabilities and facilities to meet current demand. However, we also appreciate that current trading conditions mean capital budgets have been affected, so opportunities to purchase new capital equipment is restricted.

“To assist these key sectors, Fulton has therefore taken the decision to sacrifice the gross margin on all models from its VSRT steam boiler range for the remainder of 2020. Additionally, with many other businesses struggling as a result of other sectors being impacted or shut down since March, we are extending these discounts to all of our customers.”

Fulton’s new scheme and the discounts on offer do come with some caveats, which include:

  • Discounts apply to the cost of the VSRT steam boiler and excludes ancillary equipment and/or the full project value
  • The order must be placed and paid for in full before 31 December 2020 with a vesting certificate being provided on receipt of the final payment. The discounted amount will be taken from the final payment balance
  • The ordered boiler must be delivered or collected before the 31 March 2020. However, Fulton will provide warehousing free of charge until this date

With outputs from 160 to 4,000 kg/h, Fulton’s VSRT is claimed to be the most radical change to vertical steam boiler design since the company pioneered the vertical tubeless boiler in 1949! It boasts industry-leading performance with up to 86% gross efficiency from a fully-water-backed design with no refractory; its architecture makes it durable and reliable, with up to 10:1 turndown through its fully-modulating burner; and, with a mesh burner and furnace designed as a single component, achieves typical NOx emissions of less than 20ppm.

Precision Temperature Engineering

Chris Goggin, operations director, Rinnai UK, explores how precision temperature controlled hot water technologies can assist in reducing carbon and offering many other important benefits, such as energy conservation.

Rinnai is continuing to innovate in order to help meet the current challenges by making freely available a complete cost comparison report customised to any laundry site needing to update and improve its hot water delivery units or systems. All that is required to produce the report is basic data from the site – plantroom site and size, current hot water delivery system, amount of anticipated demand, number of outlets, peak usage, required temperature(s) of the hot water.

This is then analysed into a comprehensive report based on the physical and carbon footprint to include the life cycle costs – especially initial capital expenditure and, most importantly for the site, operations costs, and any savings.

Once all data has been gathered and analysed the report is then produced in all usual formats of both electronic or hard copy and is usually available in 24 hours. The report will include graphs, charts, and visuals on the effects of the hot water delivery system currently employed and possible choices for greater and quicker budgetary efficiency.

Rinnai has geared its entire operation to assist sites in all industries and institutions to meet the current situation. All sites have their own unique qualities, plantrooms, operations and working practices. For example, a laundry may require a precise temperature for maximum efficacy of any chemicals employed; A care home OPL may need a set temperature in the living areas but very hot temperatures in its laundry for thermal disinfection of bedding, linen, clothes and so on.

Provided there are constant supplies of water and gas, Rinnai continuous flow hot water systems will deliver unlimited, continuous flow of precise temperature controlled hot water. Rinnai units can be manifolded to supply, limitless hot water to any site of any size. This means fast, efficient, temperature-controlled water on demand at the point of delivery – and means far less space spent on plant rooms and no, or very little, maintenance.

The Rinnai specification and design team can also prepare installation schematics that demonstrate best practise regarding legislative design considerations. This expertise will guarantee best practise to a host of other onsite compliance issues. The result is a high efficiency, low emission system delivering unlimited amounts of hot water.

Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.