Interview with Mr. Dave Drake, Executive Vice President at ASI / Mac-Gray Campus Laundry Solutions
ASI / Mac-Gray Campus Laundry Solutions’ Lighten the Load™ initiative is reducing college carbon footprints while educating students on the benefits of making sustainable choices in the laundry room. By encouraging campuses to reduce the environmental impact of their properties and facilities, and offering them environmentally responsible solutions to accomplish this objective, ASI / Mac-Gray is serving an important role to help campuses further their efforts to promote on campus sustainability. Since the start of the partnership seven years ago, we are proud to report that ASI / Mac-Gray has mitigated over 107 million pounds of CO2 through external carbon reduction projects chosen to meet the voluntary guidelines set forth by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
ASI / Mac-Gray has supported our exceptional projects located in the “lungs of the Earth” – the Brazilian Amazon. In the world’s largest rainforest, the Purus and Russas REDD + (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Projects will protect over 180,000 acres from slash-and-burn forest clearing and prevent millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.The Projects are located in the State of Acre, Brazil and, have achieved dual-validation to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction.
Carbonfund.org Foundation is a proud partner of ASI-Mac-Gray’s Lighten the Load program and we look forward to building on the great work that has been done over the past seven years. We had the opportunity to speak with Dave Drake, Executive Vice President at ASI / Mac-Gray Campus Laundry Solutions:
1. Please describe your current role as the Executive Vice President at ASI / Mac-Gray in respect to your work in Sustainability and what led you to that position?
ASI / Mac-Gray is a major partner to over 1000 College and University student housing locations. We have a responsibility to provide the most efficient and reliable equipment available for student use, as well to partner with our customers schools objectives to reduce carbon footprints by also providing funding to offset programs to meet the needs of the schools and the challenge of the ACUPCC. I have focused on doing just that for over a decade since high-efficiency machines and programs have been available.
2. How did you get started in sustainability work? How do you see sustainability improving systems in campus laundry solutions?
In the mid-nineties, our industry faced new government requirements to meet utility savings and opportunities for new manufactured washers and dryers from manufacturers that would make a significant impact on water usage and energy savings. It started by educating ourselves to help educate student users on how to be more responsible and how to minimize water and maximize energy savings.
3. What personal accomplishments in the sustainability realm are you most proud of?
We are very proud of developing our carbon-neutral programs to bring awareness to our participating schools. Additionally we have led the industry in setting new standards for installing and operating high-efficiency laundry equipment. We mitigated over 107,000,000 lbs. of CO2 through some great projects. I am also happy to report we are saving hundreds of millions of gallons of water each year with our high-efficiency machines.
4. What are you currently working on in the sustainability realm?
Our current work involves new and advanced machines that are significantly more efficient, new support programs, and new training ideas for users. We continue to push the envelope well in advance of regularly accepted equipment and procedures. We would soon like to include more efficient drying of clothes by sensing the clothes are dry, like home use models do, as this would help Colleges and Universities reduce their use of electricity and natural gas.
5. What is your personal biggest sustainability challenge?
Our biggest challenge is that every year we have hundreds of thousands of freshmen use our facilities for the first time. We must educate and train the new users to properly operate the equipment in the most efficient and manner.
6. What is going to be the biggest challenge for sustainability in the next 20 years?
I hope that government requirements do not exceed the realistic needs to meet the requirements of cleaning today’s clothing. It would be great if someday the garments themselves may require less to clean and help set a new level of sustainability when it comes to laundry.
7. For the next generation of environmental professionals, what advice would you give?
Be open-minded and think out of the box, but look at all results and demands so you can set realistic and meaningful standards that are achievable.
8. How did Carbonfund.org help you achieve your sustainability goals?
We have supported their high quality offset projects that allow us to create carbon-neutral laundry operations for our partner schools. These projects also meet the requirements of the ACUPCC.