Thursday, 17 June 2010

Levi - 'Care to Air' Design Challenge

In partnership with the Myoo Create community, Levi Strauss & Co. is running a competition for designers everywhere to respond to the challenge of how to design the world’s most innovative, covetable and sustainable air-drying solution for clothing. They’re offering prize money for the most effective solutions, as well as an audience with experienced designers and eco-innovators.

I feel this is an important and well briefed competition as every-day energy consumption is one of the most easily improved forms of energy use. Thus, I am attempting to design my own form of clothes air-drying and enter the competition. Personally, I believe that designing with a conscience is not only important, but also unavoidable, however much some critics claim to find 'eco-design' boring and over-played. These articles demonstrate the importance of this kind of innovative project:

'Clothes lines boom as we wash our hands of tumble dryers'- Mail Online, 19th Aug 2009.
'As a Seventies must-have mod con they helped banish another element of those wash day blues.
But the tumble dryer has never been a perfect solution. Aside from occasionally shrinking your favourite jumper, they were never particularly cheap to run - nor eco-friendly.
Which, in these straitened times, might explain why so many of us are turning back to the peg and clothes line. There has been a 20 per cent rise in sales of outside airers and humble washing pegs as families realise that ditching the tumble dryer is not only green, but bank balance-friendly too. According to the Energy Savings Trust an average of £60 can be saved on electricity bills every year by simply turning off the tumble dryer. If everyone in the UK who uses one - 60 per cent of households do - that would make a total saving of £720million. It would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 960,000 cars off the roads. But it seems it's not that easy for us to step back in time. Separate research found that one in five of us would be too embarrassed about hanging out our ' Bridget Jones' pants or control underwear in front of the neighbours. Over two fifths admit to having hidden underwear behind larger items when hanging it outside and many more women than men do this. The survey, carried out by Opinion Matters this year, also found that one in ten are too embarrassed to hang underwear outside at all. That said there are always show-offs. It seems there are 11 per cent who like to put their lingerie where it is most visible so that they can show off. Nicola Wood, buyer for outdoor drying at B&Q said: 'Investing in a washing line is one simple step we can all make for a greener life. 'We have seen increasing sales on washing lines and pegs, but it seems that letting it all hang out turns some cheeks red.' B&Q sells over 5,000 outdoor rotary airers, the modern day equivalent of the washing line, and 15,000 pegs a week.'

'Tread lightly: Switch off your tumble dryer'-, 2nd May 2008.
'According to National Statistics, almost 60% of households now own a tumble dryer. That means more than 14m households are using electricity to dry clothes, when they could save that energy by hanging them outside. An average drying-machine cycle uses just over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg CO2. If all households with a tumble dryer dried one load of washing outside each week, instead of by machine, they would save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year.
There are three types of tumble dryer on the market in the UK: electric venting, electric condensing and gas. Venting ones release hot, damp air outside, while condensing ones transfer surplus water to a storage tank in the machine and release heat indoors. The latter type uses the most energy, but contributes heat to the house. Gas tumble dryers are the most energy-efficient of all, producing around half of the CO2 emissions of an electric equivalent. However, only one company produces front-loading gas models in the UK and less than 0.5% of UK tumble dryers currently run on gas.
Whereas it is now easy to find fridges with an A or A+ rating for energy efficiency, tumble dryers are still mostly languishing in the C rating band or lower. The Energy Saving Trust endorses only three products, and only one of those has an A rating. The other two have a C rating but are recommended because they have an auto-sensor that stops them working once the clothes reach a specified level of dryness. Comparing the energy uses of different household appliances over the course of a year shows just how energy-hungry even the most efficient tumble dryers are. According to Carbon Footprint, an A+ fridge-freezer used 24 hours a day will produce 116kg CO2; an A-rated washing machine used 187 times will generate 51kg CO2; and a dishwasher used 135 times at 65°C will create 84kg CO2. The A-rated tumble drier recommended by the Energy Saving Trust, used 3 times a week, will generate over 160kg CO2 per year. Eco Washing Lines has a wide range of products for drying clothes indoors and out. If you can't dry clothes outside, invest in an airer to use inside your house. Ceiling ones work best because warm air rises. But if you don't have a suitable lofty location, try a floor-standing or wall-mounted one. Most home heating systems run on gas, so it is still better to dry your clothes inside the house in winter than to dry them by machine. You'll not only save energy and money by ditching the dryer but your clothes will last longer too.'

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