Specialty Textiles, a Phoenix-based, independently-owned commercial linen service, is paving the way for its industry to go green - and saving money while doing it. In January 2012, Specialty Textiles became one of the first major commercial laundry companies to be LEED certified and the first LEED certified laundry company in Arizona. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a prestigious and rigorous building certification that recognizes the best and most environmentally sustainable building practices.
LEED Certification To become certified, Specialty Textiles invested in renovations to complete energy-efficiency retrofits and upgrades at their 27,000 square foot facility. The upgrades included installing efficient washing machines that reduce water consumption by 60% to 70% compared to their previous washers. The new washers can clean a pound of linens with a single gallon of water, compared to the three gallons required to wash as many linens with the old system, and special care is taken by the company to ensure re-washing is unnecessary. With this reduced-impact cleaning system, Specialty Textiles saves the community over 150,000 gallons of water per day.
To reduce energy, Specialty Textiles completed an extensive lighting retrofit to convert to high-efficiency lighting that saves 145,000 kilowatt hours per year and implemented an electronic invoicing system to reduce paper waste by 35%. These upgrades, as well as others to their HVAC system and equipment motors amount to a greenhouse gas reduction of 115.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This is equivalent to removing 21 cars off the road every year.
Other Sustainability Initiatives Specialty Textiles did not stop their sustainability efforts with the LEED certification. They implemented a recycling program throughout their company and eliminated paper towels from restrooms, opting for electric hand dryers instead. 72% of their waste is currently diverted from Arizona landfills. They encourage their employees to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions through incentivizing the use of hybrid cars for commuting to and from work. Additionally, they monitor their wastewater for pH and other pollution levels to ensure they are not damaging the natural waters to which they flow out to.
The Benefits of Going Green For Specialty Textiles, sustainability has translated into financial savings through cost reductions. Specialty Textiles washes 1,000,000 pounds of laundry per week from restaurants and hotels throughout Arizona, which requires a lot of energy! Using less energy through efficiency improvements dramatically reduces the company’s electricity, natural gas, and water bills. Sustainable practices also have a trickle down effect to customers and clients. Resorts and restaurants are able to decrease their own environmental impacts through using Specialty Textiles as a sustainable linen service. This provides valuable marketing opportunities for the Specialty Textiles’ clients, while allowing access to new markets, such as conferences and retreats that wish to hold a “green” event. We are proud to have members that are creating good jobs in our community while also being good stewards of the environment.