Wednesday, October 3, 2007

High-Tech Portable Solar Clothing Dehydrator

Alas, I'm not quite ready to convert the house over to my dream of an all-solar existence, with power and hot-water heating and all the rest (I suspect I'd have some hoops to jump through to get this past the historic district folks here, anyway), but I at least took one small step.

I'm delighted with my little clothes line[*] -- my clothes feel so much better when they've been hung to dry, and I love the idea of saving a little energy. On a hot day, it's almost faster to hang the clothes than put them in the drier. Sure, it takes a couple more minutes, but it is definitely worth it.

I actually spent a fair amount of energy looking for a retractable clothes line in the retail stores around here, but finally had to order it on-line. WTF? Where are the environmentalists? Where are the folks who need to get the clothes line out of their back yard for parties? Bizarre.

At least I don't have to worry about being told I can't have a clothes line at all.

[*] I'm slightly less delighted with the brown grass in the picture, but that's a different rant...


Ed said...

We used a clothesline for years when I was a graduate student at UCRiverside. During the summer, the clothes could dry faster than the washing machine could finish a load.

As for the solar water heater idea, here is a link ( that could provide some historical perspective on solar water heaters. We are fortunate enough to have the original plans for our house (1912 craftsman) and they actually show a solar collector on the roof.

The photovoltaic systems continue to improve aesthetically. I particularly like the solar roof tiles. The cost is still a bit much, but with rebates and lower costs through higher production, the near future looks promising. Oh, I also don't think electricity/gas will ever become cheaper.

The Mediterranean at 405 Lincoln has a solar panel array. There are some benefits to a flat roof.

Funny how cheap fuel and a lack of foresight can move the American homeowner back 70 years.

K said...

Wow, how cool! I had no idea that there was so much history behind solar hot water heaters! If a third of Californians used solar hot water heaters in the early 1900s, then maybe there is some historical precedent for putting one on my roof. Sadly, it will probably be several years before we get organized enough to pursue it.

I have to admit that I've cast a covetous eye on the various flat-roofed Mediterranians in Lincoln Park, both because they'd be great for solar, and 'cause I think they look great. We looked at several beautiful examples when we were trying to find a home, but, alas, it seemed like their interior layouts just wouldn't work for us.

Ditto homes with wide south-facing roofs. :-(