Environmental Case

The Ecological Argument

Rotaire Dryline - natural drying for the 21st Century without wasting energy

"Of course, the best drier is still a washing line if you have space for one!" National Energy Foundation 2006

We aim to help the planet to heal itself by reducing energy use: the only solution there is.

The Dryline will maximise the use that you make of your airer, as shown by this graph from a survey of 117 users. See how their use of the airer has increased from 5 months to 11 months. Survey dated 2013.

It seems that Typhoon Haiyan has been the tipping point in people's understanding of climate change. Even the most fervent climate change deniers now seem to be accepting that what we do to the atmosphere rebounds on us in one way or another and that it is time we started to address the problem seriously.

Climate change is happening; just look at the British floods of summer 2007 and 2009, 2011,2012 and 2013, the record Scottish rainfall 2011 and UK spring drought and record rainfall (2012) not to mention devastating floods in New York, Orleans, Bangladesh, China, and Thailand, fires across Greece, California and Australia, vanishing ice caps and rising seas. Hurricanes like Katrina and Haiyan become annual events. Climatic disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity and will continue if we do not intervene. So any change that we can make in our own lives will have an effect - like the Dryline. Few people realise that the washing cycle accounts for over a third of domestic energy!

As a Green Party Councillor I understand the value of the saving of about 1000kwH per year per tumble drier across Europe, where tumble drier ownership is about 53% of households. In the US it is even higher! Malcolm Victory, inventor of the Dryline

If washing is not able to dry naturally outdoors, energy must be applied to it, even if passively, as in the case of washing draped indoors over racks, banisters and chair backs. Room heaters will have to be set higher in order to compensate for the dampness in the air and the drying effect. In the case of tumble driers the cost can be calculated as follows:

Clothes Dryer (per month) 3-5kW 10 - 28 Hours 50-140kWH
Clothes Dryer (per year) 3-5kW 120 - 336 Hours 600 - 1680kWH
Clothes Dryer (per year) 120-336 Hrs @ 16p* per kWH £96 to £268.80*

*2011 figures. Note energy prices have increased and will continue to do so.

Energy Efficiency Research Association

Although figures have to be approximate due to the variables involved, across the UK, tumble dryers account for 10,600 million kwH of electricity creating 4.56 million tonnes of CO2. This assumes an electricity generation mix of 400g CO2/kWh. Across the EU 15 (using statistics from EMA) ownership runs at 40-60% over a population of 96 million households consuming 77 billion kwH and 33 million tonnes of CO2.

Energy Use in UK and EU Households for washing appliance

According to research carried out by the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute (ECI) in 1997, the average UK washing machine is used for 270 wash-cycles a year.

Each tumble drier consumes between 360 and 1680 kwH per year. (EERA figures)

In the UK alone we use £800 million worth of electricity on washing applances. This equates to 96.38 million kwH and 414 thousand tonnes of CO2. Washing machines contribute 39.5%, tumble driers 35.4% and dishwashers 25.1%. On these assumptions, tumble driers in the UK consume 34.1 million kwH of energy, producing 1.75 million tonnes of CO2 (using the generally accepted figure of 0.43Kg CO2 per KwH).

source: climate care.org

However, these figures are misleading

34.1 million kwh = 14,663 tonnes CO2, not 1.75 million tonnes CO2


UK households = 25,000,000
53% = 13,250,000
800kwH/year = 10,600,000,000 kwH/yr (average of EERA figures)
x0.43 Kg CO2 = 4,558,000 tonnes CO2

53% of UK households own a tumble dryer (source: National Statistics 2004)

UK households=25,000,000


800kwH/year=10,600,000,000 kwH/yr (average of EERA figures)

x0.43 Kg CO2=4,558,000 tonnes CO2


Taken across the EU and assuming 40% ownership (low estimate in a growing market) the resulting figure for the EU 15 (excluding less developed partners) is 1,738,400,000,000,000 kwH and 74.6 million tonnes of CO2. Naturally one cannot assume total replacement of tumble driers, but EVEN A 1% REDUCTION IN USE WOULD YIELD A SAVING OF 17 TRILLION KWH AND A MILLION TONNES OF CO2.

UK Ownership of Tumble Dryers

90% of homes in the UK have a washing machine, 35 per cent have a tumble dryer and one in four have a dishwasher. We use £800 million worth of electricity by using washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers. This produces five million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The average washing machine is used for 274 cycles a year; a dishwasher for 250 cycles and a tumble dryer 148 times.

Source: Broxbourne Council

Drying clothes in tumble driers increases in European countries considerably. In 2005, 4.9 Millions tumble driers for residential use were sold in the EU. Strong differences exist between Western Europe (4.84 Millions) and Eastern Europe (0.06 Millions) as well as between Northern and Southern countries.

source: EMA_E Business Intelligence estimation)

In 2001 55 percent of all households had a tumble dryer and 95 percent had a washing machine. Ownership of tumble dryers doubled every ten years. In 1981 only 13 percent of households had a drier. By 1991 this had increased to 27 percent, and in 2001 to 55 percent.

source, Netherlands Statistical Office