SmartDwelling I, published recently by the Wall Street Journal in their Green House of the Future article has a number of innovations that aren’t so much inventions as they are re-purposing things we’ve known about for a very long time. Green Walls are one such pattern; the Laundry Eave is another.
If you don’t want to pay to electric-dry your clothes, then there are currently two common choices. The European method is to hang them on pulley-driven clothes lines over the street. Neighbors therefore know if it’s boxers or briefs, and that seems like a little too much information.
The American method is to put up a couple posts with frames on top in the back yard, and string the clotheslines between them. Problem is, as any kid knows who has spent any reasonable amount of time playing in such a back yard, running into such a clothesline while going for a fly ball or a pass can nearly take your head off, because they’ll catch you under your chin, holding your head in place while the rest of your body goes flying underneath. This is such a common phenomenon that it spawned a term in American football: “Getting clotheslined” means getting tackled by a defender who holds his arm out at neck level, just like the clothesline... leaving you to crash bone-jarringly flat of your back a moment later.
The Laundry Eave solves both of these problems. It uses the pulley, like in Europe, so that you can hang clothes out of any window on any floor of the building. But it is placed on the back or side of the building so your undies aren’t hanging out over the street.
The last element is a very deep bracketed eave that hangs over the entire clothesline, so that a shower that comes up while the clothes are drying don’t soak them all over again.
Why might you want to air-dry rather than electric-dry your clothes? The energy savings are obvious. And if you’re brave enough to commit to doing it all the time, then you don’t even need to buy a dryer. That also saves on electrical costs... at the very least, you don’t need the circuit, the wire, and the outlet. But because a clothes dryer is a big electrical load, eliminating the dryer just might make the difference in being able to go down to a smaller service. One other thing on electrical service... if you make your own electricity with photovoltaic panels, then eliminating the dryer may save a really nice chunk of change by requiring fewer photovoltaic panels. And finally, three more reasons that everyone can enjoy... air-dried clothes usually smell fresher than electric-dried ones, they’re not full of static electricity, and the clothes actually last longer!
~ Steve Mouzon
Monday, January 18, 2010 - 06:14 AM
It's quite interesting when i read your post.
Friday, January 22, 2010 - 11:01 AM
Thanks, Jemkuri! I'm starting to show Laundry Eaves on new home designs that I do. None have been built yet, but when they are, I'll post photos.
Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 08:36 PM
This is a great idea, to put clothes under the eaves, protected from rain... I can only think of one consideration.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - 06:48 AM
LOL, Izzy!! I hadn't thought of that! But since the only two places that pigeons could sit would be on the two middle braces, we could probably put those spiky things there that deter birds. The eave shelters the clothes from pigeon poo from airborne birds.