Years ago, when apartment residents wanted to do laundry, they gathered their basket and detergent, loaded up their pockets with quarters and perhaps a good book or their Walkman and trudged downstairs to the dark, dingy laundry room. A few hours later, they would traipse back to their units, only to repeat the dreaded trip the following week. Nobody looked forward to doing their laundry (okay, let’s be real—that hasn’t changed), but modern technologies in the industry have made it much easier for residents to get this dreaded chore done.
21st Century Clean
Jim Gierach, sales manager at Universal Laundries, LLC in Chicago says the industry has changed over the 20-plus years he's been in the business.
“It went from coin-operated equipment where you push the coins in, to a card reader, which is an online system where you typed in the number of the machine you wanted and the card started that machine,” he says. “Now, your card can be read right at the machine. In the future, you’ll be using your phone to pay.”
The washers and dryers themselves have changed throughout the years too, becoming far more efficient and environmentally friendly, saving both water and energy. As a result, buildings with common laundry areas are saving money. Although the exact savings vary from model to model, Sheffield J. Halsey, Jr., executive vice president of marketing for laundry equipment company Mac-Gray Corporation says that high tech machines have cut operating costs significantly, potentially saving thousands of dollars each year in water, sewer and energy bills.
“Most high-efficiency washers tumble the clothes in a front-loading unit, rather than submerging them in water as in top-loading units,” he says. “Because less water needs to be heated, energy consumption is reduced during each washing cycle. Plus, these front-loading washers extract much more water from clothes during the spin cycle, which translates into big savings of time and energy on the drying side.”