Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Conservation vs. Convenience: Load for Load, Common Area Laundry Rooms Make Cents

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Conservation vs. Convenience: Load for Load, Common Area Laundry Rooms Make Cents

Article excerpt

Again this spring, municipalities across the nation mandated water restrictions to manage drought conditions. In addition to implementing immediate water reduction strategies, many municipalities reviewed their long-term water conservation plans and began considering a unique conservation method: common area laundry rooms in multifamily properties.

A National Study of Water and Energy Consumption in Multifamily Housing, conducted by the National Research Center, Inc., brought to light the conservation benefits of common area laundry rooms versus in-unit washing machines. The study found, on average, apartment residents with common laundry facilities used 69 gallons per week per unit for laundry, while those with in-unit washing machines used 227 gallons per week per unit. Residents with in-unit washing machines use 3.3 times more water than residents who utilize their apartment buildings common area laundry facilities. Also, the study concluded residents with in-unit washers used five times more energy.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognized this water conservation benefit and recommends common area laundry facilities as a valuable retrofitting tool for multifamily properties. In its guide, "Retrofitting Apartment Buildings to Conserve Water," HUD states common area laundry facilities may decrease water consumption in multi-unit housing by more than half. It even recommends removing in-unit machines in favor of common laundry rooms.

While more municipalities are rewarding property owners and developers for implementing water conservation methods, some owners feel they are meeting consumer demand by providing in-unit hookups. How much more convenient are in-unit washing machines compared to a well designed, professionally-managed common laundry room? Is the convenience worth the cost of adding in-unit hook-ups? …

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