What is Sustain Champlain?

Sustain Champlain is a campus-wide initiative strives to infuse sustainability concepts and practices across Champlain College by coordinating and promoting best practices within four areas: our institution, academics, operations, and culture.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bringing together the 21st Century & “back in the day”

One of my least favorite chores is washing my clothes, and that dislike is magnified even more when I have to sift through my pant pockets, wallets, and drawers for elusive quarters. Like, why don’t these machines take dimes and nickels? Argh! The apartment I’m moving into doesn’t have a washer and dryer, but it does have hook ups. My boyfriend and I have been trying to figure out if we should get washer and dryer or go to the laundry matt. A dryer will jack up the electricity costs, but laundry matt means driving and waiting. There was always the option to hang dry our clothes, but that takes a lot of time and the clothes end up smelling like mildew if they’re wet for too long. Plus, we'd have to hang dry inside because all the neighbors don't need to see our unmentionables and what-nots. The laundry matt and high energy bills were neck and neck, until I stumbled across this nifty product. Now I’m not always a huge fan of technology bringing us closer to the perfect image of sustainability, because I don’t think they help change people’s consumptive habits. But sometimes humans and technology can meet half way, which is better than nothing!

So, back to the apartment, I’m looking up washers and dryers and somehow stumble upon this device called a spin dryer. If you’ve ever been to an indoor pool, you might have used one. You put your swim wear in, close the lid, hit the button, and in a minute you have a dry bathing suit to bring home. The spin dryer works like a centrifuge to spin the water out of clothes. It works best if you fold the clothes before putting them in, but you can pack it full; if you’ve ever tried to stuff a dryer you’ve probably had less than satisfying results. It takes 2-3 minutes for the spin dryer to do a full cycle, and although it doesn’t dry your clothes fully, it gets them very close. Owners of spin dryers say that afterward they can hang dry a cotton shirt in 15-20 minutes and up to an hour for thicker items like wool sweaters. And if you didn’t want to hang up the clothes, you could easily throw them in the dryer for a few minutes.

Spin dryers range from $60-$200 (the price is dependent on how many pounds of clothes can be put into it), so you probably won’t see immediate savings, but over time they will be apparent, and if you take care of it properly you can have it for years. They energy efficient, and your clothes will last longer because they’re more gentle on the fabric and the color than standard dryers. So whether you decide to hang dry your clothes afterward, or throw them in the dryer for a bit, you will be saving energy and money. It is a bit more cumbersome, but I’d rather use one of these than spend an average of $154 dollars a year on coin machines that never seem to get your clothes clean or dry!

Here is a video of a spin dryer. Expectantly, it’s not the most exciting video ever, but it’ll give you a good idea of how the machine works and how much water will come out.

Now keep on being mindful!

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