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Energy tip #4: get yourself a clothesline

airdry.gifMark Twain obviously lived in a different era. Summer in San Francisco has been hot — so hot that I’ve thought about switching to iced coffee in an attempt to beat the heat.

So given the current weather, I think it’s an appropriate time to put forth possibly the least sexy tip in the bunch: Air dry your clothes. But, but…no excuses. When it’s 108 degrees in inland California you could dry out a t-shirt faster than you could say, “rolling blackouts.”

Now, I’ve had the privilege of spending some time abroad and it seems that in almost every locale, people unabashedly hang their clothes up to dry out (even in the ever so sunny UK), presumably to save some money and space in their homes. I’m not sure whether it’s a status conscious decision or because energy has been abundant and cheap, but if Americans are really going to fight climate change, one obvious place to start is by reducing the use of the third most energy sapping appliance in the home (after the refrigerator and washing machine).

Not only does it save us money, but it cuts down on CO2 use as well. Let’s look to see what kind of impact letting our garments air dry on a clothes horse has (advanced spreadsheet here, including gas dryers).

Cost/load (electric): $ .35
CO2/load (electric): 5.6 lbs.
Loads/year for a family: 365
Cost of a clothes horse: $ 5-10
$ saving/year (1/2 loads air dried): $63.88
lbs CO2 saved/year (1/2 loads air dried): 1016 lbs.

So there you have it, throw your weekly washing to the wind and you can drop a couple of 10-spots on our Intercontinental flight offset without feeling the pinch.




Last week 27 people pledged to change their air filter. Each pledge represented 1088 lbs. So, thank you to every one who made the swap. Be proud that together you reduced 29,364 lbs of CO2 or roughly removed 2.5 cars from the road for an entire year. Let’s keep it up!

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