EM News 2015

Originally published by Register-News, February25,  2015, written by Amy Batista


A local laundromat in Bordentown City has received a makeover and is more energy-efficient.

”It’s a brand new state-of-the-art laundromat,” owner Paul Ciarrocca said. “You can’t get anything more efficient as far as any of the appliances.”

Rivertown Laundromats, more commonly known as Bordentown Laundromats, is at 351 Farnsworth Ave. and is open seven days a week year-round from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Mr. Ciarrocca said he tried to make it as friendly to the environment as possible by putting in high-efficiency materials and appliances — everything from insulation, windows, LED lighting, high-efficiency heating system and more.

 ”Most importantly, I put in Maytag super high-efficiency appliances that use less hot water and less gas,” he said.

He said the other nice thing about the laundromat is everything is on timers.

”The door automatically locks and unlocks itself,” he said. “The lights automatically turn on and turn off so I don’t have to drive back and forth to the laundromat just to lock the doors.”

He said the building is under video surveillance 24 hours seven days a week.

”It’s safe,” he said. “It’s a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. It’s nice that people don’t have to go far to do their laundry in town anymore.”

”Paul Ciarrocca has installed the most efficient equipment on the market,” Michael Tunney, of Tunney Property Management and
a member of the Bordentown City Environmental Commission, said in an email.

He said he used the most efficient construction materials available.

”All the laundry equipment is Maytag commercial brand,” said Greg Paci, a sales representative from Equipment Marketers in an email.

Katie Weitzman, of Equipment Marketers, of Cherry Hill, said vended commercial laundry equipment is better for the environment than domestic equipment for the simple reason people will launder more than one load and, therefore, use less resources. The appliances use half the amount of gas for drying in the same amount of time and half the water, therefore, dumping half the amount of sewage.

Mr. Paci said it was an existing laundromat that was very rundown and needed a facelift.

”All equipment was 10 years old or older,” Mr. Paci said in an email. “The laundromat is cleaner and brighter with new equipment and a safer design.”

He said the customers know to expect quality and a good experience when they enter.

He said the people will notice their clothes are cleaned better using less water, there are more cycle options, and they can get through the store quicker because the washers will spin most of the water out, and the dryers are fast drying.

Mr. Ciarrocca said the customers also notice it costs them less to do their laundry.

”Not only are they saving money, but they are spending less time at the laundromat,” he said.

He said utilities are cut a third for him, and business has tripled.

”That tells you what kind of an energy savings there is,” he said.

Mr. Ciarrocca said he started the renovation in the beginning of 2014, and it took about six to eight months to complete.

   ”I’m a licensed contractor and licensed plumber by trade so I kind of did it on the side while I was working on my other projects, which I do for a living,” he said. “It was an extensive overhaul.”

   He said it was always his father’s dream to own a laundromat.

   ”Within one year, I bought three laundromats,” he said, adding he is in the process of renovating the other two.

   He said he owns quite a bit of commercial and residential properties in the city, and “it just kind of made sense.”

   ”It’s a pleasure to have worked with Paul on this project and bring another Bordentown landmark building back to life,” Mr. Tunney said.

   ”The Bordentown City Green Team was very excited to hear that Paul Ciarrocca decided to invest in appliances that are energy efficient and conserve water when renovating the building,” said Cathy Elliott-Shaw, co-chairwoman of the Bordentown City Green Team.

   ”Laundromats are a great investment with solid rate of return, low labor or inventory costs and recession resistant — people always need clean laundry,” Mr. Paci said.

   Ms. Elliott-Shaw said this project served as the impetus for the Green Team to consider developing a Green Business Recognition Program, which is one of the many Sustainable Jersey actions a municipality can implement to earn points.

   ”Sustainable Jersey is a certification program for municipalities that want to “go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term,” she said. “The program is based on three principles that include prosperity (local economies and community resources); planet (responsible environmental management and conservation); and people (promoting a strong civil society that provides opportunity for all).”

   She said the proposed Green Business Recognition program would highlight businesses that are voluntarily implementing strategies to reduce energy consumption and waste, use sustainable materials, offer greener products and contribute to the local community.

   ”There are many steps, big and small, that a business can take to become more sustainable,” she said. “For example, a business can install energy efficient light bulbs, purchase recycled materials, use green cleaning products and purchase and sell locally produced and fair trade merchandise.”

   She said as the Green Team reflected on the businesses in the city, it noted so many of them already “reduce, reuse and recycle” just by the nature of their trade — vintage clothing, used books, antiques and collectibles, musical instrument repair and restaurants that use locally produced food.

   ”While we are still developing the specific details of a how the Green Business Recognition Program for Bordentown City will be structured, we hope to learn more about the sustainable practices our local businesses are already doing and encourage them to take additional steps towards sustainability,” she said. “We see the Green Business Recognition Program as a win-win with the potential to bring wider attention to the great shopping opportunities in Bordentown City while supporting businesses that contribute to sustainability.”