This page is the open source and free-shared design and construction page for the Duplicable City Center eco-laundry facility capable of processing laundry for over 300 people. This page will continue to evolve until it includes complete open source and free-shared purchase orders, installation instructions, maintenance and use instructions, and all other needed specifics for duplication and care of the One Community eco-laundry facility as part of the Duplicable City Center or as a stand-alone component. After that it will evolve even further through global collaboration and sharing the evolutions and adaptations for other people’s projects and our additional 7 sustainable villages using these templates and plans.
This page discusses this with the following sections:
Eco-laundry is laundry done with machines that combine affordability with durability and produce laundry that is clean while minimizing chemical, water, and energy use. The information listed on this page is the best we have found thus far for combining all of these criteria.
With the desire to maximize sustainable laundry practices, we see the ultimate expression of eco-laundry, as we’ll show here, as the idea of doing laundry that combines durability and efficiency with affordability in a community-based model. Whereas a traditional definition of eco-laundry would be laundry washing and drying net-cost savings through an analysis of energy and water savings over the life of the machine and equipment costs, we offer a more comprehensive model that includes the consideration of total labor requirements and maintenance costs. We do this by comparing the traditional residential laundry options with commercial laundry and industrial laundry and demonstrating how these benefits can easily be applied in a collaborative community model like One Community’s.
Open Sourcing these details allows for application elsewhere too. As you will see, these ideas can be applied anywhere people see enough benefit and are willing to work together. In accordance with One Community methodology for world change, our goal is to demonstrate this as easy enough, affordable enough, and attractive enough so more and more people will apply and adapt these ideas globally.
Eco-laundry is beneficial individually and to society. According to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, residential clothes washers and dishwashers account for approximately 3 percent of household energy use and more than 20 percent of indoor water consumption. Making these processes more efficient saves money and resources.
In 2016 alone, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity, nearly 65% of which was produced from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and petroleum). Choosing more energy efficient products saves money on monthly utility bills and also helps reduce the greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. By reducing water consumption, eco-laundry also helps protect our lakes, streams, and oceans. Additionally, instead of twisting and pulling clothes around a turning agitator in older washing machine types, front-load and advanced top-load clothes washing machines use more sophisticated wash systems to gently flip and spin clothes through a reduced stream of water, which lengthens the lifespan of your clothing.
Eco-laundry implementation, improvements, and complete infrastructure development can be looked at from several different perspectives. For the purpose of a comprehensive and easy to understand tutorial, we’ve divided this into the following sections:
Our purpose here is to provide approaches anyone can easily apply while clarifying the benefits and costs of the various levels of increased sustainability and efficiency.
The most basic approach to eco-laundry is understanding the difference between the available consumer washer types. Existing laundry machines focus on improving the machine efficiency of energy and water consumptions while maintaining clothes washing performance. There are two common types of washing machines: top-loading and front-loading. Most top-loading machines with agitator models, also known as high-efficiency (HE) washing machines, require less time and water consumption in a regular washing cycle, and are thus more efficient than top-loading washing machines without an agitator. Front-loading machines are generally more expensive, but produce better cleaning results, consume less water and are gentler than HE top-loading washing machines.
One relevant note about washer vibration and front-loading washers: When thinking about the information above, keep in mind your floor type. The high-spin speed of a washer causes vibration, which may be easily absorbed by concrete floors. However, for wood-framed floors, it is noteworthy to be aware that front-loading washing machines may cause significant vibrational noise for you and anyone sharing your space. Front-loading washing machines may also collect water around the rubber door gasket and develop mold.
For extensive details about top-loading and front-loading washing machines, including specific brand analysis, you can click here to see the Consumer Reports on washing machines.
Now that you understand the basics of laundry efficiency, the simplest approach for an individual household to improve their way of sustainable living is by choosing eco-friendly and energy-and-water efficient products. ENERGY STAR® certified washers and dryers are purposed to make this easy. The Department of Energy supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR products in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using a universal measurement of residential and commercial washing machine water and energy efficiency.
As specified in the current Department of Energy (DOE) Code of Federal Regulations at 10 CFR430.32(g), residential and commercial washer and dryers manufacturers have restrictions on minimum MEF/IMEF and maximum WF/IWF. As of March 7, 2015, the ENERGY STAR criteria for clothes washers are as follows.
|PRODUCT TYPE||CRITERIA LEVELS (MARCH 7, 2015)|
|ENERGY STAR Residential Clothes Washers, Front-loading (>2.5 cu-ft)||IMEF >= 2.38
IWF <= 3.7
|ENERGY STAR Residential Clothes Washers, Top-loading (>2.5 cu-ft)||IMEF >= 2.06
IWF <= 4.3
|ENERGY STAR Residential Clothes Washers (<=2.5 cu-ft)||IMEF >= 2.07
IWF <= 4.2
|ENERGY STAR Commercial Clothes Washers||MEF >= 2.2
WF <= 4.5
It is estimated that the average American family washes 300 loads of laundry each year. With the ENERGY STAR® certification, average household clothes washers use 25% less energy and 40% less water than regular washers. This means replacing your old washing machine with an ENERGY STAR certified machine will save significant water and energy. Research indicates that there are 76 million top-loading washers, 25 million of which are at least 10 years old. Washers built before 2003 are significantly less efficient than newer models. These inefficient washers are estimated to cost consumers $2.9 billion each year in energy and water consumption.
In a community model, or with any group willing to work together for each other’s benefit, an alternative way to do laundry more efficiently and sustainably is to use a commercial laundry model. These models are widely used in laundry mats, gyms, and several other industries because these industries require larger capacities and washing this way saves money and resources.
To illustrate this, here is an image that shows the relationship between washing machine capacity/load size and the Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and Water Factor (WF):
As you can see, there is a pattern demonstrating that, as washing machine capacity grows, its MEF increases and WF decreases. This means lower energy and water consumption in a washing cycle for the same unit load. Sustainable energy infrastructure can bring these costs down even more and, in a collaborative community model, shared labor can also provide significant individual and group time-saving benefits.
In addition to the traditional personal and commercial washer and dryer types, there are industry leaders pioneering more innovative washing machine types that claim to save even more water, energy and labor. Here is an example of one of these that, if it objectively saves water and energy, could make sense in a complete sustainable 7-village model like One Community’s:
To make a truly educated decision about the best approach to choosing a washer for our eco-laundry design, Jinxi Feng (Environmental Consultant) invested hundreds of hours into research, calculations, and creation of a tool for objectively evaluating machines and calculating their long-term water and energy savings. We will discuss the details here with the following sections:
Before establishing a model to start our savings comparison, we researched the specifications of the existing residential washing machine products that have been the best sellers and/or most popular products on Best Buy’s website. Here is our selection as a representative for each washer type (research completed Nov. 2016):
The table below shows their specifications. Prices were current as of January 2017.
For commercial washing machines, we chose two products among 133 ENERGY STAR certified commercial washers and ran a preliminary test to compare these two to get the maximum utility savings numbers. The two selected were based on filtering all choices to find the ten with the highest MEF (Modified Energy Factor) and the ten with the lowest WF (Water Consumption Factor) ratings, and then choosing two that appeared in both of the top-ten lists for these criteria. This produced the two front-loading machines in the table below that includes their specifications.
For a detailed comparison of the specifications of the most popular commercial laundry products we researched, visit our Commercial Laundry Products Google Spreadsheet. For a detailed comparison of the top MEF and WF rated commercial and residential products, visit our ENERGY STAR certified products Google Spreadsheet.
For our dryer we’ve chosen the Samsung DV56H9000EW (Amazon Link for Cost) for now. This choice was based chosen as an ENERGY STAR starting point needed for running power needs calculations. For our final dryer choice, we still need to do more research.
Based on the data and our savings calculator, we ran the baseline calculation for a multi-family household with 4 households as our baseline. We made several assumptions concerning general consumption to do this, including water and electricity rate, households number, average household washing number, and clothes washers unit conversions. For both residential and commercial purposes, we assumed the average washing load is 1024 per year for a 4-household housing. Some washers labeled the unit of capacity with pounds and some with cubic feet, which we assume a multiplier of 4 to convert the capacity unit of cubic feet to pounds for both residential and commercial types. This multiplier could vary with capacity and machine types. Later in our analysis, we will assume the number of households to be 1, 5, 50, 100, and 500 respectively to examine the scalability and maximization. Visit the FAQ for complete details on our baseline electricity and water analysis assumptions.
With this in mind, the table and figures below demonstrate the electricity and water consumption and savings versus traditional models when using comparable ENERGY STAR washing types and models instead. Generally speaking (as we’ve stated above), front-loaders are more sustainable than top-loaders when comparing utility consumption and costs. Residential top-loading ENERGY STAR washers can save 37% on electricity and 55% on water consumption compared with conventional washing machines, while front-loading ENERGY STAR washers can save 34% on electricity and 32% on water consumption compared with conventional types:
This means that a comparison versus the least efficient type – residential top-loaded conventional washer yields:
A detailed analysis of the cost savings of changing to each of the four ENERGY STAR choices is shown below. Changing the washing machines from conventional to ENERGY STAR certified, residential top-loading machines has the biggest life cycle cost-saving benefit in a direct comparison versus a traditional model, followed by residential front-loading and commercial front-loading. Both of the commercial washers in the chart below are front loading because this is the most efficient design.
If the percentages above seem confusing, you must keep in mind that this is comparing top-loading conventional to top-loading ENERGY STAR and front loading conventional to front-loading ENERGY STAR models for the first two and front-loading conventional commercial to front-loading ENERGY STAR commercial for the second two. Front-loading were only used for the commercial comparisons because front-loading always out performs top-loading. This also means that any of the front-loading ENERGY STAR washers, if compared to any of the conventional top-loading will be even more significant because of the additional water and energy savings of any front-loading washer. With this in mind, the LG – GCWF 1069*# has a greater life cycle total cost savings and end cost savings than Electrolux – W5105H, so we used the LG – GCWF 1069**# as a representative for the commercial front-loading type in our next calculations to explore maximization and scalability.
Next, we compared the commercial washer savings for 1 household with those of a 5, 50, 100 and 500 household community to see the cost-saving potentials for larger groups. As mentioned above, we used the LG – GCWF 1069**# as our source data. Here are the results:
*For complete details on our assumptions about washing loads, please see the related question about “assumptions” <<content coming>> in the Frequently Answered Questions section. For details about the calculations to determine number of washers, see the related question about “calculations” in the Frequently Answered Questions section.
What you see in this table is that the net cost savings are negative for one 1 household, meaning that it is not financially beneficial for a single household to switch to commercial-sized ENERGY STAR certified products because of the additional purchasing price. However, as the number of households grows, the total cost savings and net cost savings also increase dramatically. These net-savings were justifiable even for groups as small as 5 families, significant for groups of 50+, and a net savings of over 72,000 kWh of energy, 744,000 gallons of water, and $68,000 for a group as large as 500 households. For the group of 5 families the payback period for the initial cost was also only 2 years and for a group of 50 of more the payback period was less than 1 year.
To summarize and explore a bit deeper, electricity savings happen even with only 1 household switching to maximum-efficiency commercial front-loading laundry machines. However, they would have to wait to have enough laundry to run them at capacity, and the increased cost of the machine would still mean a net-negative cost result. Once you get over 5 households, the savings over the lifetime of the more expensive and efficient machine become justified if people were in a situation where coordination of laundry work (click here to read how One Community will accomplish this) was practical. These savings become greater and greater as the number of households coordinating increases anywhere beyond 5.
Here are the energy usage and savings as the number of households participating increases:
Here are the water usage and savings figures as the number of households participating increases:
Here are the total project net water and energy savings over the life cycles of the machine as the number of households participating increases:
We created a cost comparison between non-ENERGY STAR and ENERGY STAR certified washing machines based on our current knowledge of market sales and product information. In our selection of the representative for each washing type (top-loading or front-loading, residential or commercial, ENERGY STAR or non-ENERGY STAR), we do not have a strict rule for a clear definition of what the “best” is or a perfect candidate for every single different category. As a matter of fact, there really is no best or perfect here. Each machine has different specifications, energy or water ratings, durability or price. So instead, we chose data from different online websites based on their purchase popularity and user reviews. However, there are people who bought washing machines directly from a retailer store or who also consider other factors besides price or energy rating as priority in their selection, such as machine size, design (outlook), color or other specific features.
In our analysis, we mainly focused on the US average data or forecast data (utility rates, discount rates, washing loads per year, etc.). However, the calculation results may vary with a lot of factors, such as different location, utility contracts signed by individual households or communities, or the changing utility rates across time. We also made assumptions on customer purchasing preference, average household washing loads and number of washing hours, which could be significantly different from household to household.
One Community will grow beyond 500 people. As we’ve shown, the resource and monetary savings are huge for groups of this size and we intend to demonstrate how convenient large-scale eco-laundry can be. We’ll share our graphs and images summarizing our findings and limitations, detail our action plan moving forward, and discuss what is possible within the following sections:
Knowing the fact that our analysis is a simulation to find the optimal solution for a sustainable community, we do encourage you to create your own calculation based on using your own washing machine choices or usage assumptions. You can use this calculation to see how you can make a difference with changing your washing behavior (such as less washing loads) or make a choice such as purchasing a more efficient washing machine. If you are interested, please go to Running Your Own Calculation for more detail.
We were excited to discover that there are emerging eco-laundry technologies and markets that create a huge potential to save money and resources. However, in terms of such technologies or products, we are lacking the data that would be needed to incorporate them into our existing comparison on utility consumption and costs.
Based on our research, we have come to the following conclusions: conventional machines use more energy per load than ENERGY STAR machines, front-loading machines are more efficient than top-loading machines, and commercial washers are only slightly more efficient than residential washers:
The same applies for water, but residential ENERGY STAR washers outperform commercial ENERGY STAR washers for water:
Below we’ll discuss how to radically improve commercial energy and water savings far beyond any residential option.
Initial Machine Rationale and Flexibility Strategy
In our selection for the optimal laundry strategy, we made assumptions and chose some of the products as a representative for the market.
So what does all this eco-laundry research and evaluation mean for you, conservation, One Community, and world change? Here we’ll share our graphs and images summarizing our findings and limitations, detail our action plan moving forward, and discuss what is possible with the following sections:
We created a cost comparison between non-ENERGY STAR and ENERGY STAR certified washing machines based on our current knowledge of market sales and product information. In our selection of the representative for each washing type (top-loading or front-loading, residential or commercial, ENERGY STAR or non-ENERGY STAR), we were limited by the reality that there is no strict rule or clear definition of what the “best” or perfect candidate would be for each category. Each machine has different specifications, energy and water ratings, durability expectations, and price points.
To make the most educated decision possible, we chose data from different online websites and based our selections on energy and water efficiency, purchase popularity, and user reviews. Still, there are people who bought machines directly from a retailer or made their choices based on other factors like machine size, design/appearance, or other specific features. Some of these people would have chosen the same machines as we chose and some would choose totally different machines. Not knowing the reason all people chose the machines we ended up going with, or alternatives, means that our data can never be 100% accurate.
Also, in our analysis, we mainly focused on the US average data or forecast data (utility rates, discount rates, washing loads per year, etc.). However, the calculation results may vary with a lot of factors, such as different locations, utility contracts signed by individual households or communities, or the changing utility rates across time. We additionally made assumptions on customer purchasing preference, average household washing loads and number of washing hours, which could be significantly different from household to household.
Still, we learned many carefully verifiable points, too. These include that conventional machines use more energy per load than ENERGY STAR, front-loading are more efficient than top-loading, and commercial washers are more efficient than residential washers:
The same applies for water, but residential ENERGY STAR washers outperform commercial ENERGY STAR washers for water:
Below we’ll discuss how to radically improve commercial energy and water savings far beyond any residential option.
Then, using the most efficient commercial washer, we calculated how much the annual energy savings increase would be when these washers are used by larger and larger groups:
We did the same with the annual savings increases for water when these washers are used by larger and larger groups:
We also calculated the total savings in dollars over the life cycles of these machines when used by larger and larger groups:
With all this said, One Community will grow beyond 500 people and we learned that this objectively and conclusively opens up huge possibilities for saving water, energy, and money.
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Taking eco-laundry to the next level, there are several technologies that can take green laundry beyond the basics. Addressing cost-effectiveness, energy usage, and water efficiency, these technologies are: tunnel washers, drain trenchers, B&C technologies, and handy formula.
|GREEN LAUNDRY TECHNOLOGIES|
|Tunnel Washer||Cost-Effective. This Green Laundry System will include Green Water Reuse and all essential components required to build a modern, successful and sustainable laundry. These components will include high-speed extract washers with an ozone laundry and water reuse system, high-efficiency and high Btu/hour dryers, boiler and hot water system, wide large-diameter ironers with feeders and folders, towel folders, take-away conveyors, cart dumpers and cart washers, scales, stackers, wrapping/banding equipment, laundry carts, folding tables, soak sink, laundry bags and a robust tracking system with capabilities.
Higher efficiency to shorten process on linens from multiple customers with a variety of linen and soil types.
A Water/Energy Green Laundry System will deliver greater water savings with traditional washers than you could ever expect to receive with a tunnel. The Green Laundry Systems use ozone and cold water and a water reuse system to deliver 50% savings or more on net water use.
|Drain||Get the water into and out of the washer as fast as possible with each fill/drain cycle to minimize wasted labor resources.|
|Trencher||A washer has a 4” or larger drain pipe with the objective of getting the water out fast. Most always a lot faster than a normal drain can handle gravity flow. Water Energy Green Laundry Systems when installed for optimum results utilize a dual drain trench setup. Maximize the cost/value relationship of our water reuse systems.|
|B&C Technologies||Powerful Microprocessor control – advanced electronics and innovative design have produced a control system that delivers incredible flexibility and adaptivity to your wash wheel. Programmable directly, with a PC or with a pre-programmed
Stainless steel cabinet. All parts in contact with the wash solution are made out of 304 (18/8) stainless steel for extremely long life.
Inverter drive – powerful flexibility for a washer/extractor. Prevents electrical surges that may throw a breaker, able to operate on single or 3-phase power, fully programmable wash and extract speeds.
Large door openings – It is critical to have a door on a washer large enough to facilitate rapid loading and unloading of the washer’s contents. Open fully 180-degrees; safe and powerful electro-mechanical door interlocking system assures the utmost in safety and ease of operation.
Bearing Housing – Rugged cast iron construction is used in our single, durable bearing housing.
Shaft Seals made of Viton rubber – The spindle bearings have Viton seals to safeguard against any possibility of ozone ever ruining a shaft seal and causing an expensive leak.
B&C washer/extractors designed for use in our Green Laundry Systems have high-speed extract for removing most of the water in wet linens before they go to the dryers. This feature alone can save enough energy in the dryers to pay for your entire laundry over a few years.
|Handy Formula||Hospitality linens can be loaded, washed and unloaded in 45 minutes or less depending on the length of the wash program and whether or not ozone is used. Programs with ozone are markedly shorter than traditional programs. Get 1.25 loads or more out of a washer every hour.|
This section will also continue to expand and eventually include complete permitted plans, downloadable 3-D Sketchup and CAD files, instructional videos covering the entire installation and maintenance process, and more.
The most efficient line of high-volume laundry machines we have found so far is the Dexter Express line, which are used in many eco-conscientious coin-operated laundry facilities. They feature a variable-frequency-drive technology that lowers electrical usage and saves energy on both the washer and dryer cycles. Also, with a spin speed of 200 G-force, the Dexter Express machine extracts more water, and, consequently, requires less drying time.
High-capacity laundry machines are more cost effective, save water resources, and use less chemicals. One Community is designing an open source eco-laundry facility to provide plans, all needed installation details, maintenance details, etc. so people can effectively evaluate this option for their own needs. In so doing, we hope to promote and grow the eco-laundry industry as part of our approach to living and creating for The Highest Good of All.
Q: Why not use a gas dryer?
100% sustainable energy infrastructure is one of the main goals of our project. Initially we started out with some gas-powered equipment to reduce the startup costs for energy infrastructure. Then we made the decision to go 100% electric so we wouldn’t have to replace gas appliances later.
Q: How will you keep people’s laundry separate when doing combined loads?
Laundry will be kept separate using washable laundry bags like this:
Q: What about washing laundry by hand?
This is totally doable but probably not practical for groups as large as 300. In our case, even if it were practical, we’d rather invest those labor resources in more open source content creation as we feel this is more in accordance with our approach to global transformation and will have a more dramatic affect on global longevity and ecology. Here’s a great video on washing laundry by hand though: