Hung out to dry

News out of Queen’s Park this week brought a little smile to our face as we remembered the old clothesline at the farm and what happens this time of year.

Ever since we can remember, there has been a clothesline and as the kids got older, each of us would be sent out to gather clothes off the line. In the dead of winter, dad’s dress shirts and kids’ jeans would be frozen stiff, hard as a board, but they had that fresh air smell once touched up in the dryer. The rest of the year, no special fabric softeners or special scents were needed. It was all fresh air.

Energy Minister Gerry Phillips is seeking help in ending the restrictions that have hampered many environmentally conscious citizens that would like to hang out their laundry to dry. Many subdivisions have covenants that restrict outdoor clotheslines. Esthetics trumped thriftiness and the environment and for generations now the concept of drying clothes has been left to the mighty electric dryer.

Phillips has a good idea here. It is estimated that dryers account for about six per cent of a residence’s hydro consumption. Assuming the average home chose to hang 25% of its laundry out to dry, there would be annual savings of $30. As is the case with many statistics, that number seems small, but when extrapolated over a whole subdivision it sure adds up.

Other items on the list of conservation measures, is the abandonment of inefficient light bulbs by 2012. Many homes have already started making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs that use around 75 per cent less electricity than the old-style lights. Again, few would suggest a nickle here and there makes a difference each day, but when we all save, there is benefit to everyone.

We are happy to see some progress, albeit it small steps to saving energy.