While I agree with the spirit of Roger Cleary’s Nov. 11 letter on energy efficiency (“Use common sense for heating and cooling”), I have yet to find data to support his claim that line-drying laundry would allow the closure of all U.S. nuclear power stations. This is not the first time this comparison has found its way into the local press and I fear, like many so called “axioms,” if repeated enough times, it will be taken as fact.
In 2009, U.S. nuclear stations produced approximately 800 billion KWh of electricity. Although the government consumption data is a few years behind, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, clothes dryers account for approximately 66 billion KWh of annual electrical consumption.
Now, 66 billion KWh is no small amount, and line-drying of laundry is a perfectly acceptable method to reduce energy consumption (gas and electric), but it’s not quite the savings touted by Mr. Cleary.
As long as we’re making general comparisons, I would rather see backyard clothes lines replace a few aging coal plants (approximately 50) and let the nuclear stations stay. If I’m going to advocate for people being outside hanging the wash, I want them to enjoy clean air.