By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Monday April 18, 2011
ADAMS -- When ALADCO Linen Services needed to replace two large washing extractor machines last fall, company President David Desmarais decided it was time to try something new.
Instead of ordering newer versions of the same machines, Desmarias purchased what is known as a "continuous batch-washing," or CBW system, that relies on a new green technology to wash and clean linen.
The new system, which ALADCO purchased for $550,000, contains an innovative pumping system that allows the company to control the amount of water and detergent that it needs for cleaning, and save money on its water and energy costs.
It has reduced the amount of water that ALADCO needs for cleaning from 1.5 million gallons to 1.25 million gallons per month, and is expected to save the company between $25,000 and $30,000 per year in water costs. ALADCO currently processes 600,000 pounds of linen per month.
"Water-wise we're expecting to save 15 million gallons," said Desmarias, who installed the new system at the end of last year.
"Here in Adams water is relatively inexpensive," he said. "With water or sewer in Boston you're talking five to six times that amount."
The new system also requires 84 percent less energy to heat water than the machines it replaced. The Berkshire Gas Co., which provided $50,000 in energy-saving incentives to this projects, estimates that the initiative will save ALADCO the same amount of natural gas that is needed to heat approximately 70 homes per year.
Founded in 1952, ALADCO provides table and kitchen linens, bed linens, uniforms, entrance mats and dust control to restaurants, hotels, motels, hospitals, medical-service providers and schools and colleges. According to Desmarias, ALADCO is the first hospital linen rental facility in the nation to install this type of cleaning system. The machine's manufacturer, Pellerin-Milnor Corp. of Kenner, La., could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
The seven similar machines built by Pellerin-Milnor have been installed in health care facilities, which don't clean the same variety of linen that ALADCO does. Desmarias was familiar with Pellerin-Milnor having purchased machines from the company before for another facility he ran in Vermont.
"It could have just been timing," Desmarias said. "They had been working on this machine, and they were really looking for a guinea pig to install this system. The fact that I had worked with them before added (to it)."
ALADCO is located on Commercial Street in a former textile mill that was built in 1888. Due to its age, Desmarias said the building had to be renovated to fit the new cleaning system in. The renovations cost $150,000 and took place in November and December. Desmarias said South Adams Saving Bank helped finance the project.
The new machine is 60 feet long, comes in two sections, and includes an hydraulic press.
"It was a bit of a challenge because of the sheer weight," he said. "It's not like a big open steel building where you can just walk the thing in here. It took three days for us to get it in."
ALADCO recently introduced three more environmentally friendly options -- a lint-free microfiber wiping towel, a microfiber mop system, and a napkin designed to be a cost-effective alternative to paper napkins.
Meanwhile, the new cleaning system has attracted a lot of attention. Desmarias said eight owners of linen rental facilities are expected to visit ALADCO next month, with 10 more expected in August.
"We just had two guys in here from Seattle last week," he said.
February 6, 2011 Local Linen Supply Service “Goes Deeper Green” with help from Berkshire Gas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Adams, MA – February 6, 2010 - David Desmarais, president of ALADCO Linen Services, is committed to making his business a leader in the “green” movement in linen rental. The very nature of the linen rental business is green when compared to the alternatives of paper products or on premises laundry facilities. Taking an existing linen service company and driving the operations in a green manner is a win / win for everyone including local businesses that are enthusiastic to support the partnership. ALADCO is the first Hospitality linen Rental facility in the nation to make this commitment.
The move to being green involved investing in a new Pulse-Flow, continuous batch washing system that replaced multiple industrial washer/extractors. Gutting the heart of the business and retrofitting a nineteenth century building was no easy feat. The project took much of November and December to implement and to work out the kinks of a completely new laundry operation. At a cost of $700,000, Desmarais sees it as a “great investment in the business and the community”.
ALADCO currently processes 600,000 pounds per month of linen products. The old process used about 2.5 gallons of water per pound or 1,500,000 gallons per month. Today, ALADCO is using 0.4 gallons of water per pound, a savings of 1,250,000 gallons of water per month. In addition to the reduction in water usage, the effect is compounded by a significant reduction in natural gas and electricity required to heat 84 % less water than the old system.
Customers of ALADCO appreciate the fact that one of their key suppliers has made these energy efficiency efforts. The industry has not created the equivalent of carbon credits or a market in “greenness” but long-time customers of ALADCO appreciate the continuous improvements to its processes and its vision and commitment to a greener, sustainable environment.
John O’Neill, Director of Finance at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, an ALADCO partner since 1983 states, “With a 600-bed retreat center that is often full of program guests, our organization requires quality linen service. ALADCO has provided us great service for many years, and their new environmentally friendly washing system aligns with our organizational values. We are very pleased that we have products available to us that are handled in such an environmentally sustainable method. We salute their choice to be a leader in green technology, and their commitment to the environment makes them an even better business partner for Kripalu.”
Berkshire Gas’ Energy Efficiency Department worked with ALADCO every step of the way. After participating in Berkshire’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Audit Program, ALADCO developed a long-term plan to increase its energy efficiency. Working closely with ALADCO, Berkshire Gas committed $50,000 in energy saving incentives to this project. Michael Sommer, Manager of Energy Services at Berkshire commented: “This is the type of energy efficiency project we are excited to be part of. The projected savings for this project of over 67,000 therms and nearly 1.7 million therms over the life of the equipment, are impressive, to say the least. To put this into perspective, the annual savings from this one project equates to the amount of natural gas needed to heat approximately 70 homes per year”.
Buy local – Even though the installation required very specialized rigging and plumbing services, ALADCO was able to keep that work local as well employing Adams’ own Atlantis Equipment Corporation and Adams Plumbing and Heating.
No sitting still - Not satisfied that the new equipment and process is enough, ALADCO recently introduced three new options; a lint–free microfiber wiping towel, microfiber
mop system and the Environap, an environmentally friendly, smaller napkin that is designed as a cost effective alternative to paper napkins. The program shows that a quality cloth napkin can be rented for the same cost that many restaurants spend on disposable paper napkins. The cloth approach heightens the dining experience and removes an entire stream of trash from the table to the landfill.
The production and main distribution center of ALADCO Linen Services is in Adams, MA.
A second distribution center was added in Holyoke, MA as a result of the acquisition of Highland Laundry in 2008. ALADCO provides Star Quality linen services throughout Western Massachusetts, Southern Vermont, Northeastern New York and Northwestern Connecticut., as well as service all along the route 91 corridor. ALADCO provides table and kitchen linens, bed linens, uniforms, entrance mats and dust control to restaurants, hotels, motels, hospital, medical service providers and schools and colleges. ALADCO provides continuous employment to over seventy people and is a partner in numerous charitable organizations, as well as a member of local Chambers of Commerce. ALADCO is also a member of the Greater Springfield Visitors Bureau and Friends of Tanglewood.
82 Commercial Street
Adams, MA 01220 USA
October 14, 2010 Aladco Welcomes New Customers of 2010