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For hotels that use in-house laundry services to provide their guests with clean linens and bath towels, high utility costs are often a fact of life.

The question for many hotel owners and managers is, “why are my hotel’s laundry services responsible for such high utility costs?”

The Root of the Problem

The short answer is that your high utility costs may be the fault of your washing machines. Traditional washing machines get fabrics clean by utilizing a combination of copious amounts of hot water, strong chemicals, and rough agitation – and a great deal of fabric-rotting soaking in increasingly soiled water.

Heating the water takes up a significant amount of electric or gas (depending on your water heating system), while the washing cycle of a traditional laundry machine consumes entire bathfuls of water with each load.

Repeat this process dozens of times each day, and any hotel can find their utility costs climbing through the proverbial roof.

Finding Ways to Reduce Utility Bills

To combat this problem, many hotels are looking for ways to reduce the amount of guestroom linen they have to process each day.

One common strategy that hotels use is to ask their guests to reuse towels and linens. While the reuse of towels is a great way to save on laundry costs, there is no guarantee that guests will follow – or appreciate – this restriction.

Some hotels have resorted to outsourcing their laundry operations. In truth, this merely shifts the costs of doing laundry from your utility and staff expenses to having a new vendor to pay and manage on a regular basis. For some, shifting laundry to being a task handled by an outside agency can be a great solution.

But, is it the best solution for your hotel? External laundry services may not be as responsive as your own in-house operation would be; this is largely because of the time it may take to send your linens to the external company, have them sorted and processed from all of that laundry’s other customers’ items, and then sent back to you.

The challenge is to find a way to reduce utility costs while still providing guests with the best service possible, which means giving them clean linens and towels when they need them.

In recent years, awareness about conservation of resources has been on the rise. Many environmentally-minded guests like to use hotels with green practices and policies. Even the utility companies themselves are starting to get involved with efforts to promote efficiency with common utilities.

Rebates for Efficiency

Recently, Liberty Utilities, a utility company that provides natural gas in the United States, awarded Sterling Linens with an efficiency rebate worth 28,000 U.S. dollars.

How did Sterling qualify for such a significant rebate? What did they do to reduce their utility costs by so much that Liberty Utilities decided to award Sterling with an efficiency rebate?

Sterling Linens changed the way that they process laundry, massively cutting their water use, and reducing their hot water use to zero. The reduction in overall water use helps to conserve this valuable resource, but the elimination of hot water from the equation dramatically reduced Sterling’s natural gas use.

“What was this change,” you ask?

The means by which Sterling changed the efficiency of their laundry operations was actually quite simple: they switched from traditional water-based laundry machines to a new predominantly polymer bead-based washing system from Xeros.

The Perks of Polymer

By replacing water with millions of tiny, stain-absorbing polymer beads in the wash cycle, Sterling Linens’ new laundry machines reduce total water use by 75 percent compared to their older machines on average. When Liberty Utilities examined the machine for themselves when they were considering Sterling for the efficiency award, Rob McLean, the C&I programme manager for Liberty, noted that “For this application of commercial laundry, the Xeros machine used zero hot water and reduced cold water usage by 80%.”

You can read the whole Liberty Utilities article on their site.

Beyond the savings in utility costs, polymer beads provide numerous other advantages, including:

  • Improved garment life.
  • Improved sustainability.
  • Superior cleaning performance.
  • Stray colour absorption.

The gentle tumbling action of millions of miniscule beads allows the polymer to extract stains from every last millimetre of fabric, while being less damaging to the fabric than the hot water and agitation cycles of older machines. Because the beads are formulated to absorb stray dye, and because the wash temperature is less than what a traditional laundry machine employs, there is less chance of colour bleed from one fabric to another as well – with whites staying whiter and colours more vibrant.


About Xeros Cleaning

Xeros is changing the way textiles are cleaned. Using patented polymer bead technology, the Xeros System for commercial cleaning uses up to 80% less water, 50% less energy and approximately 50% less detergent, and delivers superior cleaning results compared to conventional washing. Xeros was recently awarded a Bronze Medal in the prestigious Edison Awards; was named a top invention by TIME magazine, winner of 'Best Technological Breakthrough' in The Climate Week Awards 2011; listed in Worldwide Fund for Nature's survey of global 'Green Game Changers'; and has been awarded two Rushlight 2013 Awards for green innovation. Strategic partnerships include GreenEarth Cleaning and BASF. Xeros is headquartered in the UK with offices in the U.S. and China. For additional information, please visit

Contact: In the UK, Instinctif Partners / +44 20 7457 2020

Contact: In the US, Neal Stein, Red Javelin Communications / (321) 473-7407

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