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Grid heroes: Lavans can wash now because the sun is shining

Written by Lavans

Written by Lavans

In recent months it has been the talk of the town in Southeast Brabant: grid congestion and all its consequences. Lavans likes to turn dirty laundry into clean laundry, but is now sounding the alarm on the energy issue. As a progressive company, and since last year holder of the title 'best laundry in the world', Lavans wants to do business and invest sustainably, but that is made impossible.

A consciously sustainable approach

Under the motto "a little different, but nice to be ourselves," Lavans has been investing for years in a healthy, sustainable and future-proof company. Tristan van der Waart (Managing Director Lavans) explains: "In 13 years we have been able to reduce our energy consumption by 70%. Something we are extremely proud of, but we are far from satisfied and want to go further." For example, installing heat pumps is high on Lavans' wish list, but if no additional energy can be purchased from the grid, the family business can never take this step. Indeed, several years ago Lavans took a lower contracted power output on the advice of the grid operator, and now that the company desperately needs the energy, the company gets zero credit. 

Short celebration 

The energy shortage is a major problem in the Southeast Brabant region, with many companies, including Dommelsch and DAF, currently suffering the consequences. So too is Lavans. Last spring, the company commissioned its new cleanroom laundry with a capacity 3.5 times greater than the former cleanroom facility. A sustainable investment for a healthy future. "We like to look ahead and invest: the celebration only lasted a short time. Our application to increase energy capacity was rejected, so we had to install a huge battery in October. Before we remained below peak capacity due to the sun shining. Now, the battery ensures that we can run all machines at peak times, but it is insufficient to run heat pumps as well," Tristan said. "In short, extra energy through the grid is badly needed!"

Looking ahead, an additional unpleasant consequence is just around the corner. If the cabinet plans go through, the energy tax on gas will go up sharply starting in 2025. Currently, Lavans pays 9 cents per cubic meter of gas. This amount will gradually increase over the next few years to nearly 58 cents in 2030. "Totally unreasonable," thinks Tristan. "Especially when as a company you want to invest in electrification, but this is made impossible by the grid operator. Laundries, just across the border or located in another province of the Netherlands where the problem is less or not an issue, get a big advantage this way."  

Recently, a news article about the grid problem in the Southeast Brabant region appeared in the Eindhovens Dagblad. In addition to DAF and Dommelsch, Lavans also contributed.

Off the gas

In the most ideal future scenario, Lavans reduces its gas use to minimal use or even goes completely off gas.  "We have always been at the forefront of sustainability in our industry, and we were awarded the title 'best laundry in the world' last year for a reason." For Lavans to maintain this position, alternatives must be available and offered. Lavans always thinks in terms of solutions and thus carefully weighs all sustainable options. To this end, they also maintain short lines of communication with the Municipality of Helmond and obtain information from other sparring partners. "It is very nice to look for solutions together with other parties. Together we get further and continue to make a positive impact aimed at the future," Tristan concludes.

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