WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities
The type of laundry equipment used in commercial laundry operations depends on
the type of laundry facility, the total quantity and type of laundry to be cleaned, and
the frequency that cleaning is needed. Self-service laundromats provide a centralized
location where individuals can bring their personal laundry. These types of laundry
facilities typically use commercial coin- or card-operated, single-load, residential-
style washers. On-premises laundries are onsite facilities dedicated to washing fabrics
used at the location and are typically found in facilities such as hotels, hospitals,
nursing homes, prisons, and universities. Industrial laundries are typically centralized
contract laundries that launder fabrics from other businesses. Industrial laundries
and on-premises laundries tend to use large, multi-load washers and washer extrac-
tors. Very large on-premises laundries may use tunnel washers. The specific types of
commercial laundry equipment are discussed in more detail below.
Recent advances in commercial laundry equipment, including the availability of
more efficient equipment, water recycling, and ozone technologies, have provided
options for reducing water use in nearly all commercial laundry operations.
Commercial Coin- or Card-OperatedWashers
Commercial coin- or card-operated washers are similar to conventional, residential-
style washing machines. Top-loading machines have dominated this market, al-
though they are being phased out and replaced by more efficient, front-loading
The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 previously set requirements for commercial
coin- or card-operated single-load, soft-mount (i.e., not bolted to the floor), residen-
tial-style laundry equipment, but the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) recently revised
those energy conservation standards. Commercial coin- or card-operated single-load
laundry equipment must now meet a water factor of 8.5 gallons per cubic foot for
top-loading washers and 5.5 gallons per cubic foot for front-loading washers.
To address efficiency and advances in commercial clothes washers, the U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOE’s ENERGY STAR® has developed voluntary
criteria to qualify high-efficiency clothes washers to earn the ENERGY STAR label.
ENERGY STAR qualified washers
are 37 percent more efficient than standard mod-
els, saving energy, water, and detergent.
U.S. Energy Department (DOE), Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program. Commercial Clothes Washers.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOE’s ENERGY STAR. Commercial ClothesWashers.
EPA and DOE’s ENERGY STAR. Commercial Clothes Washers.