Monday, 18 March 2013

petty townhouse rules

It has recently occurred to me that most townhouse complexes in affluent areas (not to mention blocks of flats), have bylaws prohibiting inhabitants/residents from drying their laundry "on display" in the sun.

It has also occurred to me that this forces residents to use tumble-dryers, which both damage clothes after repeated use (implying costs to households), and which use enormous amounts of electricity (2000 watts per hour, or 2 units of electricity per hour), also implying costs to households, environmental costs, Eskom load problems.

If one considers that South Africa, as a sunny nation, has the benefit of allowing one to dry laundry in the sun, and yet these bylaws prohibit it, it may be worth considering the environmental impact, and the impact on Eskom's ability to deliver power, of this prohibition. It is my view that the relevant bylaws should be scrapped, and that sun-drying of laundry should be encouraged.

Let's work a quick calculation to see what I mean.

Suppose the affluent population of SA is about 10 million people. Suppose, furthermore, that of that 10million, there are four persons per household (I got this figure from Wikipedia). That means 2.5 million households, roughly, with tumble-dryers. Now, let's calculate the power wasted: 2 units per hour. Let's assume, furthermore, that an average household runs four loads of washing per week, ie four hour sessions of tumbling, or 16 hours per month. At two units per hour, that's 32 units of power per household per month. Assuming again 2.5 million tumbledryers, you're looking at 80 million units of power, or 80 MW wasted per month. Eskom can only produce 34 000 MW. Granted, this is only 0.23 % of Eskom's capacity, but it's still something. Have I made a mistake in this rough calculation? Is this something to be concerned about?

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