Saving Energy by Air-Drying Laundry: The Potential Impact

  • A picture of a washing line on a breezy summer day.

A short time ago I decided to move to Wädenswil for study reasons. With great luck I found a small attic apartment in a romantic wooden house that has graced the town of Wädenswil for over 250 years. When I rummaged through my attic shortly after moving in, I found dusty clotheslines that my predecessor had left behind. And since I had a lot of online lessons, I also started to hang up the laundry simultaneously to the lessons and thus save the electricity costs for the tumble dryer. After a brief investigation, however, I first became aware of the potential of this habitual change.

According to a study by the university of Bonn from 2016, 7.2% of the residential sector's electrical energy is used in the laundry sector. For the year 2022, with an electrical energy consumption of 714 TWh, this would correspond to 51.4 TWh in europe. According to the German cosmetic, toiletry, perfumery and detergent association, around half of the energy costs in the laundry sector are caused by tumble dryers. According to this estimate, around 25.7 TWh were used for laundry dryers alone in 2022. With this amount of energy saved, Switzerland could be lit for around 4 years, based on the energy consumption for lighting in 2021.

But of course hanging up clothes is not possible in every household for reasons of space. And hanging up clothes by hand also takes a lot of time and does not always have space in a busy daily schedule. But if you have the opportunity to air-dry your clothes, you should take advantage of this opportunity from time to time and maybe even relax while at the same time listening to your favourite podcast.

Picture from Erik Witsoe from Unplash