A ROUTINE THAT SAVES MONEY AND TRIMS CARBON FOOTPRINTS IS NEW AGAIN
Not that long ago, in the 1950s, automatic clothes dryers were still a novelty. So for most, laundry routines included hanging clothing out on a line or on a drying rack. Now, there are 90 million electric dryers in the United States, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, and each of those dryers uses 5.8 percent of total household energy and accounts for 2,400 pounds of emissions per year, estimates the Natural Resources Defense Council. Multiply 90 million household dryers by an estimated 400 loads a year per household, and you discover...a stellar opportunity for energy savings.
As Wellesley shapes a Climate Action Plan and strives to join the nationwide effort to cut carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030, here is a way each of us can make a difference. If household energy consumers sidestep dryers and use a clothesline even just occasionally, the effect on energy consumption and carbon emissions rates would be significant.
A clothesline also can save you money. One energy blogger estimates savings of $15-$20 a month, and notes that line drying is also much gentler on clothing.
So let’s start a trend, Wellesley.
Show us your clotheslines!
Send images like mine above to email@example.com in order to inspire others. Your household can help our town reach our goals simply by foregoing use of the dryer. Consider rigging a clothesline between two trees, buying a retractable line or simply adding a drying rack inside to your laundry space.
Lise Olney, a member of the Wellesley Board of Selectmen, is giving it a try. She just ordered a bamboo umbrella-style clothesline to be installed in her verdant back yard.
“Basically, I was inspired by the book talk (Sustainable Wellesley’s first book group with Paul Greenberg, author of Climate Diet: 50 Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint) to think of what other steps I can take to use less energy,” Olney said. “We already hang most of our laundry in the basement laundry room rather than using the (gas) dryer. But in the summer, the wet laundry just kicks off the dehumidifier, and that uses a lot of electricity. I think the clothesline will lower our electricity use and reduce the need to use the dryer. Our long-term goal is to get rid of gas from our house — we have gas heat, gas stove, and gas dryer so it’s going to take some doing!”
Wellesley resident and Natural Resources Commission board member Bea Bezmalinovic says her household has used a retractable clothesline in the basement for over 20 years. Her husband is from India where his family always dried clothing on lines to save wear and tear on items. At their home in Wellesley, she says: “We wash at night and clothes are usually dry within 8-12 hours,” adding that she and her husband split the work.
In my own house, I use a laundry-room drying rack for about half of laundry loads and in the summer, I hang clothing to dry outdoors, a routine I unscientifically calculated takes on average 6 minutes.
I learned my love of line-dried laundry from my mom, who as a child living with her grandmother in the Bronx clipped laundry to a rope strung across a courtyard on a pulley out their apartment window with all like pieces of clothing grouped end to end sharing wooden clothespins. Her grandmother insisted that the clothesline reflected on their household, my mom remembers: “Our laundry on display always looked perfect.”
During my own childhood, we had an old-fashioned wringer washing machine in the garage below the house at our small lakeside place in Maine. On breezy days, my mom would enlist all four kids to help collect sheets and laundry, fill the tub of the washer – agitate with detergent, rinse, agitate and rinse again. We then ran the bedding and clothing piece by piece through the rubber rollers of the ringer. Feeding a soaked face cloth in one end and receiving a rough flattened, clothing line-ready wafer out the other was so satisfying. Then all we had to do was shake out and hang the laundry on an extensive clothes line tied around the trunks of several massive pine trees between our house and the water. We had a conventional washer/dryer at home, but my memories of this summer chore were fun. Really.
As an adult, I find the exercise calming. Freed from routines inside the house juggling work and kids creates time to breathe in fresh air. And when my girls were small, I would plop them on a pile of clean, dry laundry in a basket and carry them inside laughing – good energy.
Nostalgia aside, there are real possibilities for energy savings. Energy Star estimates that Americans could save more than $1.5 billion each year in utility costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from more than 2 million vehicles if they shifted to line drying. This seems worth the effort. So send us images of your clotheslines, Wellesley, and we will post them here to inspire others. Start making a difference today.
Written by Trish G
The Town of Wellesley is looking to understand the specific retail, restaurant and business wants, needs and patterns in Wellesley Square in an effort to bring vitality and new businesses to our community.
Imagine, a pedestrian weekend main street, re-use and plastic free stores, no styrofoam, EV charging stations, community refrigerator, a fix it shop, in town composting and recycling, etc. Let them know what YOU want by filling out this survey.
It takes less than a minute to fill out the survey.
Last week after the Massachusetts Legislature put its climate bill on the Governor’s desk for the second time, Governor Baker signed it into law. This sweeping and historic statute is the first piece of climate legislation passed in Massachusetts in over a decade, creating the foundation for bold and robust statewide climate policy for years to come.
Specifically, the Roadmap Bill strengthens Massachusetts’s emissions reduction targets to establish a 50% reduction by 2030, a 75% reduction by 2040 and a goal of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Having targets like these will hold the Commonwealth accountable to reduce emissions in our energy, transportation and building sectors.
To make these goals, the act stipulates the development of a Net Zero Energy stretch building code, which it empowers communities to adopt by 2022. It also mandates energy efficiency standards for appliances by 2025, and authorizes another 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power. It also provides protections for Environmental Justice communities.
What does this mean for Wellesley?
Later this month, Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC) will be updating the Town’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals and bringing them to the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) 2021. These goals, contained in Article 24, call for reductions in town-wide GHG emissions of 50% below Wellesley’s 2007 baseline by 2030, 75% below Wellesley’s 2007 baseline by 2040, and net zero town-wide GHG emissions by 2050.
These science-based goals follow State policy, are in line with The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, support Wellesley’s Unified Plan, and echo similar climate actions taken by an increasing number of Wellesley’s peer communities across the Commonwealth. Residents are encouraged to contact their Town Meeting Members letting them know they support these emissions reductions goals for our community.
Wellesley residents are taking advantage of being home organizing and trying new things. The Town is a buzz sharing things and offering items up to their community! Looking to test drive a Cello? Ready to give away a chair/weights/books/mugs/etc...There are numerous ways to offer up, and receive, gently used home furnishings, puzzles and even clothing right here in Wellesley!
For residents on Facebook, there are groups dedicated to getting people to reuse! Wellesley Give & Take, Greater Boston Suburbs Give and Take and Buy Nothing Wellesley, allow adults in the area to offer or request certain gifts and services. The goal is for residents to share the resources they have to minimize additional purchases. If you have an item you do not use anymore, you can post it in the group. In addition, if there is something you need, you can post a request for that item.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each person generates almost 5 pounds of waste each day which ultimately ends up in landfills. By sharing resources with the community, you are not only minimizing your waste, but also your neighbors’.
For those not on Facebook, you still have options! Try the online website The Freecycle Network, which is similar to the Facebook groups. At Freecycle, residents can page through items for offer, or post your own. There are a myriad of items either available or wanted on the website including student desks, car seats, ribbon, sleds, and much more.
If you still haven't found the right place to offer items you are ready to pass on, try the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF) allows residents to leave items at the reusable area from April to November. The Reusables Area, also called Take-it-or-Leave-It, is a swap section run by the Friends of Recycling Volunteers (FOR), a community based nonprofit organization made up of Wellesley residents dedicated to helping the Town’s recycling program. Check out the RDF web site for details about hours and protocols. The RDF also offers residents a place to bring- and take- books and certain health care items such as crutches, wheel chairs, canes.
Reusing items is great for the environment and can save you money!
Thanks to Kate Lapierre for contributing to this story!
We received a lot of positive feedback on David Green’s Zero Carbon Home presentation which you can watch here. He used clear language - although we detected an accent (jk) - to inspire and entertain us.
His story is like many of ours.
David decided he wanted to cut his carbon footprint.
He had no idea how to do it.
He looked for books on the topic, but nothing was that clear so he figured out how to do it himself and is now sharing that information with us.
Good news is that he lives in Dover so there is no tropical magic happening.
What did happen is that he:
Check out his website for all of the insider tips.
Thank you David!
Got Problems with Invasive Shrubs?
Cricket Vlass, Wellesley Town Horticulturist and Landscape Planner, will share ways to identify, remove, and replace them on Tuesday, February 23 from 7-8PM via Zoom.
Register in advance here for this virtual educational event:
Invasive plants are not only a threat to conservation lands, they also pose a threat in your yard. In this 1-hr Wellesley Conservation Land Trust webinar learn:
This free event is part of the Wellesley Conservation Land Trust Educational Series and co-sponsored by the Wellesley Free Library, Natural Resources Commission and Sustainable Wellesley.
Sustainable Living Wellesley Facebook page was all a flutter as the new year began. It all started with Courtney’s simple question about what others are doing for sustainable swaps in their homes.
This is such a great question as we all aim to ditch the bad habits from last year and aim for new ones that go easier on the planet (and our wallets)!
A key factor in finding sustainable items is getting items that can be reused numerous times rather than once.
Let's start in the kitchen:
Moving on to the laundry room:
Closet. Yup, we said it. Your closet!:
We loved the communal idea generation on a topic near and dear to all of us. These items may seem small individually, but at large can make a difference.
These were just a few ideas shared in that chat. For more ideas, join Sustainable Living Wellesley Group on Facebook!
Thanks to Kate Lapierre for contributing to this story!
On Thursday, January 14, 7:30pm join a community discussion about housing in Wellesley with:
Jennifer has served local, regional, state, and national housing, community development, and planning organizations and she recently became a Climate Reality Leader with the Climate Reality Project.
The discuss will center around how Wellesley’s zoning created our desirable community, but also contributes to Wellesley’s increasing lack of affordability. How can we ensure that Wellesley’s housing supports our values? What action steps can we take to allow a greater diversity of people to call Wellesley their home?
To register for free Zoom event, please click here.
This event is presented by the League of Women Voters of Wellesley, and the Wellesley Free Library and sponsored by many organizations, including Sustainable Wellesley.
25-30 million real trees are brought into people's homes for the holidays in the United States alone, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Don't let yours be one that ends up in a landfill where it decomposes to create harmful “landfill gas;” a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide.
Recycle them instead, and give them back to the environment!
Bringing our trees to the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility’s (RDF aka “Dump”) compost area, ensures that they find their way back into the soil. The RDF actually encourages it, asking we just make sure to remove all tree decorations – including ornaments, tinsel and garlands – and the stand, or anything else that may be attached to the tree.
In addition, Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission reminds residents to dispose of holiday greenery responsibly. Dumping them in parks and conservation areas might seem like returning nature to nature, but it’s actually illegal.
As environmentally conscious townspeople and educated consumers, it is our responsibility to know where and how our tree is being properly disposed of. If taking a trip to the RDF is not in your future, time is not in your favor, or if roof scratching, messy tree needles aren’t your thing, let some WHS graduates take your tree to the dump for you for a nominal fee.
Start your “no pollution” New Year's resolution by getting your tree to the RDF to return to the earth.
This holiday season there are many ways you can do your part for the planet including shopping local and buying pre-loved items.
Some Wellesley options include:
There are up-cycled items in and around town too. Please share with us your favorite, "kinder to the planet" gifts so we can let others know too.
Here are some beautiful, pre-loved inspiring gift wraps too.