Oregon solar advocates have calculated just how much energy goes into drying a load of laundry in a clothes dryer.
On average it's three kilowatt hours per load, according to Joe Wachunas with Solar Oregon.
“What does three kilowatt hours mean? Well, it takes about a pound of coal to create one kilowatt hour of electricity, and coal is a big provider of our electricity across the country," he said.
With a little extra effort, his group argues, people can save that energy and the money it costs by hang drying laundry instead. That will also reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
"It’s totally possible to hang dry your laundry when it’s sunny," Wachunas said. "Hang dry it indoors when it’s not. It’s just a matter of getting in the habit of it. You can save a lot of money and you can save a lot of carbon emissions."
Solar Oregon is launching a week-long campaign the week of Aug. 5 to encourage more Oregonians to hang dry their laundry and post pictures to social media with a "#hangdry" hashtag to see how much energy people can save altogether.
Wachunas said when he lived in Italy he learned that only 3% of households there have dryers for their clothes. Collectively, he said, our clothes-drying habits in the U.S. represent 1% to 2% of our total energy use.
“We could cut out 1% to 2% of all electricity usage,” Wachunas said. “That doesn’t seem astronomical, but that’s currently what solar power is. Just by hang drying our laundry we could match the entire amount of solar power in the United States right now."
His group will celebrate a week of hang drying clothes for climate change this Saturday at Spin Laundry Lounge in Portland.