Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day 34 of our Green Year: No More Dryer

Layla and I already wash our clothes with cold water detergent, and we only do it when we absolutely have to (although hand washing may be coming in a future blog ;) ). However, we thought that it didn't make much sense to save energy by using cold water in the washer, and then use the dryer which uses up a bunch of energy.

So, from now on we will no longer be using a dryer, and that means in the winter time as well. The great thing about clothes is that they dry, and since we don't wear tonnes of different clothes, we are not going to be overwhelmed with the amount of clothes that we will need to dry. The truth is, we will be able to dry them quite well outside. We know that this is common knowledge, but surprisingly, not many people actually do this. It may be because they are not allowed, as many cities do not allow clotheslines because they are 'unsightly'. However, there are other solutions to drying your clothes without a dryer.

One of our readers actually suggested drying your clothes in your living room in the summer. This is a great idea that Layla and I will be using because you can actually cool down your living room with the clothes drying in there, so you are keeping cool without energy and you are drying your clothes without energy. A double whammy!

If you live in the city and are not allowed to dry your clothes outside, then you can also dry your clothes in the basement of the house. There should be plenty of room and the clothes will dry just as well as they would outside, albeit slower.
Layla and I are quite lucky because we live in a mountain town that allows clothes to be dried outside, so we can dry our clothes in the fresh mountain air. It is a win-win scenario.

If you do dry your clothes inside, you can actually kill a few more birds with one stone (sorry for the expression). Put some pots or bowls under the clothes and catch the water that drips off of them. This keeps your carpet from getting wet and you can reuse that water on the lawn or garden. This of course works best if you don't use detergent. Right there you have water saving, energy saving and you are cooling down your house!

In the winter, things get a bit tougher but you can still dry your clothes inside just the same, and if things cool down, then just bundle up.

Thankfully, things are beginning to change and cities, states and provinces are beginning to change their minds on outdoor clothes drying. In fact, in April the Ontario government lifted the ban on drying clothes outside. This was because several subdivisions, cities and towns did not allow it, but the new ruling by the government means that it does not matter and people can dry their clothes outside, which means our good friends Min, Jay and Faith can begin drying their clothes outside.

Here are just a few facts about dryers and the environment:

  • Five dryers produce the same amount of emissions as an average-sized car.
  • The average dryer uses 900 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
  • Consumers can save 25 percent on their energy bill each year by not using the dryer.
I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to sniffing that mountain air in my clothes from drying them outside.