Originally published byBurlington County Times, March 5th, 2015, written by Sharon Lurye
BORDENTOWN CITY — In the laundry business, the best way to save green is to be green.
The Bordentown Laundromat at 351 Farnsworth Ave. is the first business to receive official recognition as an environmentally- friendly “Green Business” from the city’s Green Team.
Owner and resident Paul Ciarrocca, 50, bought the building last year and immediately set to work on making the business energy-efficient from floor to ceiling.
The high-efficiency Maytag washers use about a third less water than traditional models, and the dryers run on gas, which has less
environmental impact than electricity, he said.
“These are the most efficient dryers on the market,” Ciarrocca said. “If there were more efficient dryers, they would be here.”
The dryers and washers aren’t the only green detail, however. LED lights on the ceiling stay cool to the touch, saving on air-conditioning costs. A new tin roof helps deflect heat.
Ciarrocca even saves on gas, because the doors lock and the lights turn on and off on an automated schedule. So he doesn't have to drive to the business to close and open it himself. A live camera feed on his smartphone allows him to keep an eye on the building.
He said he spent close to $150,000 on renovations, plus the cost of the building itself. But the investment made good business sense, considering that a laundromat’s expenses come almost entirely from its energy and water bills.
“The only thing I’m selling is utilities,” Ciarrocca said. “If you want to make a profit and get the best bang for your buck, you have to go with the most efficient machine.”
The environmental impact also matters. Ciarrocca’s daughters are 3 and 6 years old. He said being a father made him care a lot more about what kind of planet the next generation will have to live on. “I have two little girls. … Before I had kids, I didn’t even recycle,” he said.
Ciarrocca also has laundromats in Riverside and Florence that are in the middle of an environmental overhaul. He said his utilities bill at the Riverside business, which doesn’t have efficient machines yet, is triple his bill in Bordentown.
“Everything’s new, state of the art, clean,” said customer Jen Procaccino, 40, of Bordentown Township, of Ciarrocca’s operation.
The Green Team, a subcommittee of the Environmental Commission, was created in 2009. Its goal is to help the city retain its Sustainable Jersey certification through environmental action.
“There are many steps, big and small, that a business can take to become more sustainable,” Green Team member Cathy Elliot- Shaw said.
These steps can include installing energy-efficient light bulbs, using recycled materials or selling local and fair trade merchandise.
Elliot-Shaw said many local businesses “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, just to name a few.”
Ciarrocca will receive a certificate at Monday’s City Commissioners meeting. The Green Team is also developing a decal that can be put in store windows to let customers know they are patronizing a green business.
“While we are still developing the specific details of 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,” Elliot-Shaw said.