The critical value of water was especially apparent in 2012 as America faced one of the most serious droughts in its history: crops withered, barges on the Mississippi were grounded and power plant cooling towers were put at risk. These were just some of the impacts of a compromised water supply.
With the increasing impacts of climate change, water conservation will become even more vital in the coming years. Most of us know there’s a lot we can do to reduce our personal water footprint, whether it’s plugging leaks, taking shorter showers, eating meatless meals on a regular basis, etc. But engineers are helping us use less, too, by designing appliances that sip, rather than gulp, water.
When you consider that the average U.S. household uses 400 gallons of water per day and that much of it goes unused down the drain, it might make you wonder how much is consumed by an industry that exists to feed, shower and shelter many people: the hotel industry.
Enter British-based company Xeros’ ultra low water cleaning system, which uses 70-90% less water than conventional machines through the use of polymer bead technology. While a front-loading washer uses about 40 gallons of water, a Xeros washing machine cuts water use significantly. The recyclable cleaning beads can be used hundreds of times before they need to be replaced, and they never go down the drain. The cleaning power of the beads also means reduced temperature and less detergent, resulting in less energy and less chemicals used to clean dirty linens and clothing.
To see how this technology works, watch this time-lapse video that shows the wash cycle from start to finish.
Xeros currently provides its system to in-house laundry operations for the hotel and lodging industry, as well as retail dry cleaners. The Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia recently started using Xeros machines to launder their guest room and dining room linens and bath towels using less water, less chemicals and less energy. According to David Eisenman, General Manager for the Hyatt Regency Reston, the property is looking forward to reducing its utility consumption and carbon footprint.
Saving water in other ways saves hotels money, too. The Proximity Hotel in North Carolina, for instance, saved two million gallons of water and $14,000 in water bills in one year just by installing high-efficiency plumbing fixtures. The cost of these fixtures was $7,000, producing a payback on the hotel’s investment in only six months.
Developing technology solutions that create these kinds of environmental advantages has earned the company kudos. Xeros won the prestigious “Best Technological Breakthrough” category in the 2011 Climate Week Awards, sponsored by the U.K. government, and WWF in the U.K. called Xeros a global “Green Game-Changer” in the realm of “consumer goods and services innovations.” If you think ultra-low water cleaning would be perfect for your resource-conscious lifestyle, you’ll be pleased to know that Xeros plans to offer their machines to individual consumers down the road.
For more information on why EarthShare and Xeros are promoting conservation and environmental stewardship together, visit our water issues resource section. If you would like to stay in touch with Xeros so you’ll be among the first to know when they’ll be debuting their technology for home use, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.