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New washing machines save Intermountain Healthcare millions of gallons of water per year

Intermountain laundry
Posted at 12:54 PM, Aug 17, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — What if replacing a washing machine could save millions of gallons of water per year?

While it's not likely to happen at home, Intermountain Health upgraded its washing machines and saved 11 million gallons of water in their first year of operation.

Their Central Laundry cleans linens from 160 healthcare and hospital facilities stretching from Burley, Idaho to Delta, Utah, amounting to 1.3 million pounds of laundry every month.

“When you process millions of pounds of laundry even the slightest efficiencies can make a big difference in the number of resources used,” said Laura Thurston, operations manager at Intermountain Central Laundry.

These new industrial machines squeeze out water to reduce drying time; that water, which is already heated, is put back into the first step of the washing machine to soak the next load.

“The best form of sustainability is not having to use resources in the first place. These upgrades will save water over the decades while they’re in service,” said Glen Garrick, sustainability manager for Intermountain Health.

“Every gallon of water we don’t have to use in the process of providing care is a gallon that can stay in our waterways and benefit our communities.”