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Investing in building with a laundry room.

A growing number of property owners and managers are realizing their laundry room is not only a place to wash clothes, it's an investment - providing satisfaction to owners as well as residents.

Income Generator

Recent surveys show that buildings which do not contain a common laundry room have a high percentage of private washers and dryers in apartments. These privately owned machines can be responsible for a number of building problems: machine vibration and added strain on water pipes, which often causes diminished water for the rest of the building, can result in damage to the pipes and flooring. Leaks an over-flooding from these machines can also cause thousands of dollars of damage to the apartment and neighboring apartments.

When a resident has a private washer in his/her apartment, they are more inclined (because of the proximity of the machine and the lack of direct cost), to wash a single item such as pants, a shirt, or even a handful of socks. Because most machines do not distinguish the size of the load, a great deal of water will be wasted on such a small laundry load.

On the other hand, installing a common laundry room in a building brings several benefits to an owner. When a laundry service company installs a laundry room in a particular building, the owner/board is compensated rather than having to pay an increased utility bill because of a proliferation of privately owned machines. Therefore, an owner or board can save revenue on services which are used.

Energy Conservation

Having a common laundry room in a building will eliminate needless running of machines that are half empty, but installing a "quality" laundry room is one of the easiest ways to ensure energy savings all year round. By simply installing the proper-sized machines, an owner's fuel bills can be lowered considerably. In too many buildings, the machines are either too small or too large for their particular building's residents. If an owner installs an oversized washer, the machine will often run half empty and waste water and electricity. Conversely, if a building installs machines that are too small, a resident will have to operate two or three machines at the same time, when one large unit would have been sufficient.

A dryer can also be a culprit in depleting energy. Even the most modern dryers can waste 5 percent, 10 percent or up to 75 percent of their annual fuel consumption without proper care. Much of this care involves simple tasks that can be performed by a building's superintendent, such as maintaining adequate air flow in the laundry room. Air flow can be accomplished by simply leaving the laundry room door ajar or by keeping a window open or a fan running. This air allows a dryer's flame to burn efficiently and therefore, dry clothes better while using the least amount of fuel. If a dryer does not get enough air, the machine will overcompensate for the diminished air supply by burning more fuel to keep the flame alive.

Another factor that will have an effect on a laundry room's energy efficiency rating is whether or not the dryers vent at 90 degree angles into manifolds - triangular pieces that can act as wind tunnels kicking damp air back into the other dryers. At this angle, the machines' exhausts will battle each other in various directions blocking air flow out of the building. If venting becomes congested, clothes will not dry properly and if it becomes severe enough, it may even require breaking down walls to correct this.

What is often surprising is that some machines are more effective using less water whether it be hot or cold and others are more effective using less electricity and/or gas. The best way to find the appropriate equipment for an individual building is to have a laundry service professional make a careful analysis of a building's overall requirements. A quality laundry service company will review every detail of the building before installing machines: from the number of residents and their lifestyles to analyzing ways to lower fuel and water bills.

With this in mind, all owners and managers should evaluate the areas of a building that could be adding to their water bills and recognize the laundry room as an important area of fuel, water and electricity savings.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review and Forecast, Section V
Author:Breitman, Steven
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 24, 1992
Previous Article:Cost conscious managers can save big.
Next Article:More environmental surprises may lie ahead.

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