NATIONAL REPORT—For our second annual Green Lodging Trends report we asked survey participants: If you considered an ozone laundry system but then later decided against it, what was the biggest obstacle(s) to its implementation? They all said cost. Should cost really be an obstacle to implementing an ozone laundry system? According to several suppliers we spoke with, an ozone laundry system being a prohibitive cost is really just a myth. The benefits are so many and the return on investment can be so reasonable that the purchase of an ozone system should be a “no brainer”.
“If you use our rental program, you will have an immediate cash flow,” says Ralph Daniels, President and CEO, Aquawing Ozone Disinfection Laundry Systems. “The return is greater than the rental fee.” Most suppliers offer rental programs, Daniels adds. “Our 28 distributors offer it.” He says one can also rent or lease with the option to purchase—still allowing for a positive cash flow.
Daniels says just as important as cost is having local, authorized, trained distributors who know about available rebates and other incentives and who are available to assist with ongoing support.
Marc De Brum, Sales Manager and Applications Engineer for ClearWater Tech LLC, says rebates are can be found anywhere in the United States. “A great website to review is www.dsireusa.org,” he says. “On this website the customer can select their state and locate rebates in their area. Most rebates will provide funds for the reduction of water or energy consumption. California certainly leads the way with ozone laundry specific rebates. Pacific Gas and Electric in Northern California will pay as much as 50 percent of the total costs of the ozone system, and can provide an On-Bill financing program (to those who qualify) at 0 percent interest for up to 60 months. In Southern California the same basic programs are available, however, there is current talk of this rebate percentage increasing to 100 percent.”
‘Cost is Not an Obstacle’
Jim Gross, President, Ozone Water Technologies Inc., says, “Cost is not an obstacle. The ROI in a typical 100+ room hotel is typically from 6 months to 12 months. In Hawaii—three months. If I can tell you I am going to save you $2,000 a month and the system costs $12,000, it is a no brainer. I have done a 60-room property and cut its water bill in half. I have sample return on investment studies.” Electricity, water and sewage rates impact the time needed to recover costs. Areas with higher rates will see a faster return.
“The ROI discussion is key,” De Brum says. “We understand that hotels and healthcare facilities operate on a tight budget. However, when there are funds available, they are often used for the front of the house and not necessarily the back of the house. What we attempt to promote is installing the ozone laundry system first; this way the savings that it provides can help pay for those upgrades around the facility.”
Adds De Brum: “Some suppliers will size a single system for all of the washers and some will supply for each individual washer. A few key factors that come into play are, how many washers are at the facility, what are their sizes and their capacity, and what are the linen types and soil load being laundered. These factors allow us to size the appropriate systems specifically for the facility. This means that we are not installing a system that is too large that will cost the facility too much, nor will the system be too small that would be inadequate for the job.”
Asked if there is bad information in the marketplace regarding the cost of ozone laundry systems, ClearWater Tech’s De Brum said, “I don’t know if there is bad information in the market regarding costs, but there are certainly variations. I believe that the right answer is, if you are in the market for an ozone laundry system, do your homework. Be sure that what the supplier is proposing is apples for apples against other products. Some suppliers offer small ultra-violet light ozone generators with a small price tag, which are supplied as more of a gimmick than they are actually producing ozone to benefit. Traditional ozone laundry systems use Corona Discharge ozone generators that supply levels of ozone that promote actual oxidation of soil, and bacteria kill, which is why they will cost a bit more.”
Resistance from Chemical Suppliers?
One supplier suggested that chemical vendors can oppose the implementation of ozone laundry systems because it means adding another element of control to chemical consumption. Of course it can also mean less sales. “The chemical company wants to control what is going on,” he says. “They don’t want to communicate and work as a team with the customer.”
Undoubtedly, ozone added to the water inside a laundry system can have many benefits. “Ozone does three things,” Gross says. “It oxidizes, deodorizes, and disinfects. It works best in cold water.” Daniels says laundries are more productive when ozone is used. More pounds of laundry can be washed per hour. “You will pick up 5 pounds per hour,” he says. “You have faster drying because the ozone relaxes the fiber.”
Shorter cycles mean lower energy, chemical and water costs. “You will get an 18 to 20 percent longer linen life,” Daniels adds. “If you have shorter cycles, your equipment will last longer.” An improved work environment can be provided for associates because machines are not producing as much heat.
Fast Cleaning, No Residues
Ozone can give you a whiter, brighter, cleaner product. A high level of disinfection can be achieved. According to Ozone Water Technologies’ Gross, ozone is 3,000 times faster than chlorine when it comes to sterilizing linens. Because ozone reverts back to pure oxygen after it is used, there are no chemical residues.
De Brum says an issue his company continues to battle is that of education. “People still don’t understand ozone laundry in general,” he says. When approached by suppliers offering systems with costs varying significantly, they do not know who to believe. “If you purchase a very small generator, is it going to treat the entire load? No. You are going to need to make it up with agitation, chemicals or hot water,” he says.
“With ozone laundry everyone is a winner, from the environment by reducing the amount of water, energy and waste, to the customer that uses the cleanest linens possible, to the hotelier that has a satisfied customer (while saving on their expenses), to the distributor of the ozone equipment supplying a happy customer for life, to us as the manufacturer providing equipment that meets our corporate social responsibilities as we are always looking for new ways to reduce our negative dependencies and increase global sustainability,” De Brum adds.
To learn more about the potential savings that an ozone laundry system can offer, Daniels recommends contacting your local authorized distributor. “Have that distributor supply to you a questionnaire to validate whether you want to put in an ozone laundry system,” he says.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.