Spin Dryer for SEED House

Spin Dryer for SEED House


Summary:

The Green EDGE Fund provided SEED House with a grant for a spin dryer, to make their laundry system more sustainable and efficient. This model uses less electricity than conventional clothes dryers.

Background Premise:

SEED House has already purchased and begun to use something called a "Breathing Mobile Washer."  This is a plunger-like device that creates a vacuum which forces cleaning solution through your clothes which you can wash in the bathtub or in a bucket.  Having reduced our energy use in one half of the process we thought it was about time to turn to the other half.  SEED House is not equipped with either a washer or dryer which means that until recently, we usually ended up using the facilities in nearby Asia House.  However, as an experiment in how regular homeowners can easily live with less climate impact, it seems more intellectually honest to have our washing and drying needs be contained within the house.  Towards this end we saw the need for a spin dryer.  Wringing clothes out and then hanging them up to dry results in a slow process, mildewy smells, and new wrinkles in the clothes.  By using a spin dryer instead of a regular dryer, we have between 1/10 and 1/20 the energy use than electric drying and a much faster process than using a clothesline alone.

Cost-Benefit Estimation:

After comparing costs of various products, a $134.95 model was the best priced device for the amount of laundry it can hold. Energy savings are estimated to be between 420 and 840 KWh per year based on the assumptions that students do laundry between once every two weeks and once a month and based on the 7 KW/h consumption of the dryers in Asia House and Keep which run for 50 minutes per load.  This model uses 300 watts when it starts up and then less then that when it gets up to speed.  The machine is supposed to take 2-3 minutes for a load of 12.2 pounds of wet laundry.  Erring on the conservative side given the possibility of people having more than that amount of clothing to dry at a time or it just being too sopping wet, the whole process should take about 5-10 minutes. The water that is dredged from the clothes can be incorporated into our gray water system. Monetary savings are between $43.82 and $87.64 based on the DOE rate of 11 cents per kwh resulting in a 1.5 - 3.1 year payback time. If the device last ten years, however, it could save almost $1000.

Additional Benefits:

The dryer will also contribute to our gray water system because we can reuse the wrong-out water to flush our toilets. Since SEED House gives many tours every semester both to the members of the college community and to alumni, town residents, alumni, and students and visitors from other colleges, this new addition to our energy savings system would be easy to incorporate into our existing educational framework at no additional cost.

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