Laundry room with a difference,
The Swiss are known world wide for their efficiency and innovation. Everything has to run like the Swiss watch especially in my energy and cost efficient laundry room. Laundry room and doing our laundry is vital in our lives. In the long run this vital room has to serve me effectively not just in terms of cost and space but also on our energy bills. A lot of thought and planning has gone into this energy and cost efficient laundry room in our basement. I will be giving you tips on how to do your laundry room in the most efficient way.
Energy and cost efficient Laundry room tips
1. Save energy and cost with traditional methods- Use clothes lines
Drying clothes on a line is the most energy and cost efficient laundry tip. I seldom use the dryer. Dryer is the most wasteful way to dry clothes. Plus, the clothes coming out of the dryer always looks limp and wrinkled. We have always invested in indoor clotheslines and a portable Stewi clothesline for the summer months.
Clothes line are standard in all apartments and houses in Switzerland. The very first place I lived even had in addition to the basement clothes line one for the garden. The second rented flat even provided a portable one for the summer months to share. I was thrilled to hang my laundry in the summer outside because nothing better than the free solar energy you get. I also like the smell of the sun on fresh laundry. This is the most energy efficient way. Unlike in most places in N. America, I heard its frowned upon to hang clothes out in the garden.
When we first bought our own house in 2000, the first thing my husband fixed were the drying lines. Luckily in the previous house the clothes dried quickly without a need for any gizmo. We opted out of a dryer as we saw no need for it and it worked for us. But in this house we have an energy efficient de humdifier installed. This helps in drying the clothes quickly.
2. Invest in Energy efficient Laundry appliances
When we bought our first house 2 decades back, we invested in a good quality washer from Electrolux with energy label A. For those days that was what was the standard. That machine lasted around 14 years. With the advancement in technology and the push to save energy, the energy label with A+++ has become the norm.
We wanted to invest in the best quality machine in our current whole house. The initial investment cost was high but in the long run it pays off with lower energy consumption and energy bills. The most sold and highly innovative Swiss Made electrical appliances you get in Switzerland are manufactured by V-Zug. And most Swiss houses tend to go for all their household appliances from this manufacturer. In this home, all of our kitchen appliances are from V-Zug with the exception of our laundry room.
For the washing machine and the dryer, we decided to buy the high end Miele appliances this time. I must say that we are actually very happy with our purchase despite the initial high investment. It was probably a little unpatriotic to buy a non-Swiss Made machine. But after many years of V-Zug, we wanted a change, plus the features in Miele were great.
Heat pump dryer are very energy efficient
The dryer we have is a heat-pump dryer and these are the most energy-efficient option. A heat-pump dryer extracts heat from the room air and uses it to heat the air in the dryer, where as a conventional electric dryer relies on a heating element. Some dryers use both technologies and are known as hybrids. Heat-pump dryers use 20 to 60 percent less energy than conventional dryers.
3. An efficient & practical Laundry room organization system saves costs
To enable me to reach to all the laundry supplies and store the back up within easy reach, we installed the shelving system Algot from IKEA. Even when the house was under construction, we had decided on this system due to its design and practicality. Initially, we didn’t want to drill any holes into the walls, so we opted to use the basket attached to the trolley and kind of stacked up 2 sets. This was very impractical as I had no good overview and I couldn’t store my overflow of detergents. I was sometimes duplicating things which I already had in stock. These baskets were also not very stable.
So after a year of struggling, we opted to re-purpose the system on the wall and bought the necessary brackets and planks. The Laundry room looks a lot brighter and much more functional. Personally I don’t see a need to decorate the laundry room in the cellar. This room has to function efficiently and laundry has to be done with minimum effort.
4. Bulk buy Organic and biodegradable detergents to save costs
If you have a good organization system, you can bulk buy laundry supplies. This also saves you money and you get to buy your trusted favorite detergent on sale. For the sake of the environment and our family’s health, I use only organic and biodegradable detergents to do my laundry. Some of the best brands I can buy in Switzerland are Ecover, Frosch and Sonnet to name a few. If you have the access to raw materials to make your own detergents do so. I tried to get the raw materials in the past, but it was difficult to buy the necessary ingredients, so I gave up.
More over, I like to support these small time manufacturers who make excellent quality organic and biodegradable detergents. If people like me wouldn’t buy they would go out of business. And we wouldn’t have this option altogether which would be sad. My policy is everyone should win, I don’t want to be too stingy and love to support alternative options. I save money by buying on the bulk and storing the over flow in the laundry room itself using the space saving shelving system.
5. Plan for energy efficient Laundry day
It makes sense to collect laundry to fill up the washer to make the most of the resources.
I typically run between 8 to 10 loads a week. I collect our laundry for 3 to 4 days in a row and separate them according to the washing temperatures, Colors and the rooms and do it at a stretch. In Switzerland we also have an additional cost savings if we wash over the weekend or at night during certain hours. This would enable us to actually do energy efficient laundry at these off peak hours.
Night loads are impractical, so I start late afternoon and finish by midnight. By investing in these high quality machines, I get to choose the most energy efficient wash cycle.
Its also best not to overload the machine, as the clothes don’t come out clean. I also don’t use too much of this precious organic detergents except for heavily soiled clothes. The other trick I use is washer balls which saves on the washing powder.
Program your wash cycles to lower temperatures and increase the spin speed. This way if you have to use the drier, clothes will dry faster and it will consume less energy.
Check out if low peak energy saving hours are available in your living area.
As I mentioned in the beginning, to make my energy efficient laundry room work for me, I avoid using the dryer. We have a very efficient de-humidifier installed and this dries up the clothes very quickly. I save a lot with this method and use the drier sparingly, despite having a heat-pump dryer.
I would love to hear from you your laundry tips. Do you also have a different energy efficient laundry room organization which you would like to share with the community here?
You can watch the whole tour and organization tips by clicking on the video below.