Slashing labor costs and improving efficiency are often the impetus for adopting encapsulation cleaning. But a new breed of eco-friendly facilities is placing greater emphasis on cleaning procedures that reduce their carbon footprint and conserve natural resources. Fortunately, encapsulation fits the bill, making it a popular choice for LEED buildings, as well as facilities in drought-prone regions.

“Encapsulation is marketed as low moisture — and it truly is,” says Crowe. “It uses a lot less water than hot water extraction, so it’s ideal for areas that are concerned about water consumption and also what’s being dumped into the sanitary system.”

Gelinas agrees. He estimates that facilities use about three gallons of water to clean 1,000 sq. ft. with encapsulation equipment, versus 10 to 25 gallons of water with a portable extractor.

“Encapsulation has a much lower impact on the environment,” he says. “Once the water evaporates from the carpet, the polymer is vacuumed up as dry soil and goes into the landfill in a vacuum bag. With hot water extraction, you have a pretty contaminated mess of water that comes out of the carpet. And even if the water is discharged properly, it still went from pure water to highly contaminated waste water.”

According to carpet care professionals, encapsulation not only conserves water but energy, as well.

“If you’re doing restorative cleaning, encapsulation easily uses 70 percent less water and less heat,” notes McDonald. “If you’re using a truck mount for hot water extraction, you’re burning gasoline to heat the water. So encapsulation saves chemistry, fuel and also wear and tear on your equipment.”

Less water also translates into faster dry times — carpets are typically dry in an hour or less following encapsulation. And as Yeadon points out, facilities do not need additional equipment, such as air movers, to speed up the drying process — another plus for energy conservation efforts.

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