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Beijing sights and thought III - Energy Cost of Drying Your Clothes
It is estimated that a typical person dries one load of cloth per
week in the US. (http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/dryers.html)
At 10cents per kilowatt-hour (KWH) and an average of 50KWH/load
(Note added 10/24/07. the correct foigure should be 5KWH/load. See my
next article about this)
, this comes to $25.00/year per person and 250KWH of
energy per year per person. Since almost everyone in the US dries
his/her clothes using a dryer, this amounts to 300million times
250KWH or 75000 million KWH of energy consumption (equal to
75 billion dollar a year). For a rich country this is a relatively
small cost. But I am not sure about its contribution to energy
consumption and environmental impact on the world as a whole.
In China on the other hand, almost everyone dries cloth by air even
though most city dwellers own washing machines. Now, people
consider hanging out your laundry to dry in the open creates an
unwelcome sight, particularly in crowded cities (In America there
is this derogatory saying about “hanging out your dirty laundry to
dry” meaning exposing your dirty family secrets for all to see).
However, Chinese have invented the idea of a glass enclosed
veranda for each apartment in all apartment buildings. This
veranda is used primarily for air-drying clothes after washing. The
“ugly sight” problem is thus solved. Driving past all the high rise
apartment buildings in Beijing, one never sees any laundry being
air-dried in the open even though I am sure everyone is doing it..
In these days of global warming and rising energy cost, I consider
this an environmental friendly, hygiene, and ingenious solution. I
wish the architects and housing developers in the US can take note
and follow this practice.