The Fight to Line Dry

Now that the eco-friendlier--albeit more unsightly--way to dry laundry is making a comeback, line-drying activists go face-to-face with homeowners associations to make it safe to do it.
February 11, 2009, 12pm PST | Judy Chang
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"A 2001 Department of Energy report estimated that electric clothes dryers accounted for about 5.8% of total electricity usage in U.S. homes -- a startling figure given that the same report said all indoor and outdoor lighting in American homes constitutes only 8.8% of electricity usage. Plus, the 5.8% attributed to dryers does not include electricity needed to power the motors of gas-heated dryers.

Still, some people see nothing purposeful or poetic in the image of clean sheets blowing in the wind.

'Homeowner associations recognize that if people throw their clothes over their fences and patio walls that their homes won't be as aesthetically attractive,' said Richard S. Monson, president of the California Assn. of Homeowners Assns. 'We're criticized for this, but what it's doing is protecting home values.'

It's not just the beige-on-approved-beige gated communities that often prohibit line-drying. Homeowner associations at retirement communities, mobile home parks and condos often prohibit the practice. Elleven, Los Angeles' first condo building to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's gold LEED rating for environmentally conscious design, has sustainable bamboo flooring -- but line-drying? That's still strictly verboten, building manager Matthew Davidson said."

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Published on Saturday, February 7, 2009 in Los Angeles Times
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