Hospital laundry’s energy and water costs tumble and CO2 emissions fall after fitting GEM steam traps

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Courtesy of Thermal Energy International Inc.

Dedicated to taking an active role in reducing its carbon emissions as well as saving costs, MTW Linen Services, a subsidiary of Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS, has reduced its CO2 emissions by 12.5% following the installation of Thermal Energy International’s GEM venturi orifice steam traps.  In addition, the laundry has reduced its energy consumption by 12% and its water usage by a substantial 30%.

MTW Linen Services moved to its present purpose-built premises in Maidstone in 2003 and has been operating as a laundry for over 40 years.  Steam is used extensively throughout the laundry in the operation of a wide range of equipment including a steam boiler.

Prior to the installation of the GEM steam traps, Mark Wildish, Linen Service Manager at MTW Linen Services, found that 10 of the laundry’s 62 steam traps were failing each year, necessitating their replacement at a cost of £3,500.  Additional costs for labour to maintain and replace the traps amounted to a further £5,000 per annum.

“When the traps failed we were losing steam which was costing us money and in addition we were also having problems with the feed water”, said Mark Wildish.   “When I heard about the GEM steam traps I realised it was the way forward and asked Thermal Energy International to carry out a site survey”.

The survey found that 9% of the steam traps had failed open allowing large amounts of expensive steam to be wasted, 4% had failed closed which was causing the condensate to back-up and create wet steam, corrosion problems and water hammer, and a further 2% had failed partially closed allowing smaller amounts of steam to escape.  From these findings, Thermal Energy International was able to calculate that by replacing the mechanical traps with the GEM venturi design, MTW Linen Services would be able to save £26,617 in energy and maintenance per annum alone, providing a short-term payback.

George Leedham, Energy and Contracts Manager for Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust then tracked the results to ascertain the savings in energy and water and the reduction in CO2 emissions.

“The savings are impressive”, said George Leedham.  “At today’s gas prices we are saving around £24,000 a year based on a throughput of 80,000 pieces per week.  I anticipate energy savings will increase from 12% to 18% by the year-end when everything settles down. Our water savings are due to the removal of an inefficient condensate return pump and the fact that we no longer have condensate losses from blown steam traps”.  

Although the laundry primarily works for Primary Care Trusts and Nursing Homes, at the end of 2011 it began undertaking work for commercial organisations.  This meant that its throughput of around 80,000 pieces a week has increased to 120,000.  These increases will result in the laundry making even greater energy and water savings and in achieving an even faster payback on the cost of the GEM steam traps.

Instead of utilising a valve mechanism to close off steam, the highly efficient GEM steam traps use the patented venturi orifice design to effectively drain condensate from the steam system. As the GEM steam traps have no moving parts to wedge open or fail, they provide the ultimate in reliability, necessitating only minimal maintenance and requiring no spares, testing or monitoring equipment.   

Available in a wide range of sizes for a full cross section of applications, the hardwearing GEM steam traps are manufactured from corrosion resistant stainless steel and are guaranteed for 10 years, obviating the need for repair or replacement.  The GEM steam traps provide a fast payback - on some processes within a matter of days - from reduced energy costs and increased equipment reliability due to a reduction in damaging steam within the condensate system. In addition they improve product processing by enhancing the quality of steam which in turn reduces equipment repairs, downtime and replacement costs

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