Water and Sewage
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Buildings & land use
Project Summary Project Description Application of Tools Opinion of Tools Decision making process Contact Details

Decision making process

Name of the case study
Folehaven Green Laundry

Decision making process - stages
The environmental assessment is based on imprecise measures, as the consumption of water and electricity in the old laundry was not measured (only the number of washes), and also not measured separately in the new renovated laundry. Therefore, the evaluation to some extent had to be based on estimates. The main conclusions of the evaluation were:

Functionality. Generally, the plant does not function optimally, and there are still unsolved problems; this includes too high pH-value and salt concentration.

Environment. The sludge contains environmentally damaging substances LAS (Linear Alkylbenzen Sulfonat) and NPE (NonylPhenolEthoxylater). It is uncertain where they come from, but it could be due to residents using other types of washing powder than the eco-labelled ones that the functionality of the laundry was based on.

The first year the water consumption has been reduced from 30 to 13m3 per day, which is far more than expected. Most of the reductions (70%) are due to the new and low-consuming washing machines, 22% are due to use of storm-water and re-circulated wastewater, and 8% are due to fewer washes. However, the percentage provided by storm-water and re-circulated water has recently been increased to app. 60% of the water consumption for washing. The consultants expect that the green cleansing plant will be able to provide all the necessary water for washing in the future. According to the evaluator this will be difficult, as the washing machines uses less water, and the wastewater for recirculation therefore is reduced also. A consequence of the efficient and water saving machines is that the environmental and economic benefits of the recirculation plant become relatively smaller.

The electricity consumption has been reduced by app. 10%, so the total today is app. 600 MWh. However, there has been no separate measuring of the electricity consumption on the laundry, so the 600 MWh include all the shared consumption in Folehaven (i.e. all the electricity that is not used in the households), for instance light in stairways and in common rooms. As there have no changes in these facilities – except that a coffee automat that has been installed in the laundry – it is estimated that the reduction is all due to the new laundry. The reductions are mainly due to new efficient washing machines, whereas the recirculation plant has implied an increase in electricity consumption due to UV-light, pumps and others, but all in all the net result is a reduction in electricity consumption. A part of this reduction has been reached by changing electrically based equipment to equipment based on district heating and gas. Therefore this energy consumption has increased, so that the total energy consumption today is bigger than before the renovation. The precise amount is however uncertain, as no precise data for water and electricity consumption before and after the renovation were available. Therefore the environmental benefit of the green part of the laundry is uncertain.

Economy. The investments in new washing equipment is good, both in economic and ecologic respect. The green part of the laundry (local cleansing and recirculation of the wastewater) is however more problematic, because of the electricity consumption and the reduced water consumption of the washing machines, which reduces the profitability of the green waste-water treatment.

User satisfaction. The users are generally satisfied with the laundry; it has apparently increased their environmental awareness, and they spend more time in the laundry. The satisfaction with the washing quality could be better, but this can also be due to a change in the types of washing powder (eco-labelled).

The process. There have been many problems, which is not surprising as it was an innovative project. However, measures and monitoring should have been better, and a monitoring program should have been established at the outset.

The evaluation recommends that the project should not be copied or repeated. The main benefits have been achieved by the traditional modernisation, changing the washing machines and other equipment to more modern models. However, it was also recognised that this is a development project, which should leave room for learning from the experiment.
Along with the evaluation, the inspector of Folehaven, the administrator 3B and EBO Consult have continuously had meetings to solve problems as leaking silo and pipes, consumption etc., and to check the quality of the laundry.

The evaluation was applied in the final stage of the project (after the laundry was completed).

Decision making process - levels
Decision making occured at the technical level.

Decision making process - sources of information
Partial evaluation reports on themes, and a final report.

Decision making process - who are the decision makers
The main actors were: FB (Social Housing Company), 3B (Social Housing Administrators), the local housing department in Folehaven, and the residents, EBO-consult (consultants on the biological plant), and Lading Arkitekter (evaluators of the laundry). The decision involved technical experts and the local housing politicians (chairmen and administrators)

Decision making process - who made the final decision for project implementation
The social housing association FB

Name of tool
Evaluation of the Folehaven Green Laundry

Decision making process - tools in decision-making process
The evaluation was carried out after the project was completed. The evaluation has since caused the initiators (owner and consultants) to improve the laundry, on the points criticised in the evaluation report.

An action plan has been developed by FB, to follow up and improve the points criticised. In this way, the evaluation report added an extra stage to the project. However, the initiators (FB, Folehaven and EBO consult) were very dissatisfied with the evaluation report. Part of this is due to disagreements on the number of washes in the laundry, which affects the environmental assessment. As the total amount of energy and water used has to be seen in relation to the number of washes in the laundry; in case of a small number of washes, the energy and water consumption is high per wash, and opposite, in case of a large number of washes. Other disagreements are about the Grander-equipment (an equipment for alternative water treatment produced in Austria, for "revitalizing" water) that was installed to solve problems of water quality. According to the evaluators the Grander-equipment has made no difference, and has little scientific value, whereas Folehaven and EBO-consultants claim that the equipment clearly has improved the water quality.

Quantitative data and goals were used to compare the present situation of the laundry to the environmental and economic goals formulated when the laundry was designed. Due to a lack of data before and after the renovation, the assessment is – on some points – based on estimates. Several qualitative goals were formulated; for instance the residents were promised that the green laundry would have at least the same washing quality a traditional one. This has been done by asking the users about their opinion of the washing quality (spots and whiteness on the washed clothes) in the new laundry, compared to the old laundry.

The evaluation pointed out several points for ways to improve the green laundry.

Decision making process - how was the information for the dmp disseminated
The results of the evaluation were published in a report, and were communicated directly to the initiators.

Decision making process - how was the public involved
Residents were interviewed about their views on the laundry, as part of the evaluation.

Decision making process - was there public discussion over the project
The local residents were involved in the planning and decision procedure of the green laundry.

What tools were used to assess sustainability?

Evaluation of the Folehaven Green Laundry

More information

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