Friday, July 18, 2008

And now for the rest of the story ...

In a previous post (Splish splash, I was taking a bath), we talked about doing the wash only when there is a full load. So now that there is a full load of dripping, wet clothes ... what are some energy saving ideas for getting them dry?

Once again, old fashioned ideas and methods are the best ... line drying is by far the most energy efficient way to dry laundry. The added benefit is a bit of exercise to hang them up and ... when they are dry ... they smell wonderful ... like sunshine and fresh air.

Unfortunately, line drying laundry when living in an apartment or a small space without a yard ... or line drying clothes during inclement weather or the winter ... means that laundry takes up every corner of living space. And ... call me crazy ... but having company drop by, only to have to duck under a line of my underwear ... well ... it just doesn't seem socially acceptable to me. So I opt for using a dryer.

There is a way, however, to maximize the use of a dryer and minimize the energy used ... and planning ahead is the key. If two or more loads of laundry need to be dried, the second (and subsequent) load will use less energy if it immediately follows the first load ... even if the dryer has a cool down stage. Basically, the elements in the dryer are already warm so they don't have to spend extra energy gearing up from cold to hot. Rather than do a load of wash today and then a load of wash tomorrow ... plan ahead so that more than one load is done in succession.

This tip is, however, not without it's pit falls. In this age of multi-tasking, many of us start a load of clothes just before we head out the door to run other errands ... and, unless things are timed perfectly, being home at the exact moment that the dryer buzzes complete so that we can toss in a new load is ... well ... difficult.

But, picture this ... one day a week, or maybe one day every two weeks, you set aside a day as laundry day. Not just any, ordinary, laundry day ... but one that you look forward to. I know you're laughing and rolling your eyes ... but what would you do with a quiet day at home? Can you imagine spending the day reading, or working on art projects? Would it be nice to have some quality family time? Or maybe you'd like to watch some old movies on TV. In between all this fun you'd be having at home on "Laundry Day", you could actually do the laundry ... efficiently ... in an energy wise way. It's a thought!

As always, I would love to hear your ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling. Just click on the comments link, located at the bottom of each post, and let me know what you think and how you conserve.