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The Right to Dry:
A Green Movement Is Roiling America
Clothesline Has NeighborsBent Out of Shape in Bend;
An Illegal Solar Device?

Anne Marie Chaker, Wall Street Journal
BEND, Ore. — It was a sunny, 70-degree day here in Awbrey Butte, an exclusive neighborhood of big, modern houses surrounded by native pines.

To Susan Taylor, it was a perfect time to hang her laundry out to dry. The 55-year-old mother and part-time nurse strung a clothesline to a tree in her backyard, pinned up some freshly washed flannel sheets — and, with that, became a renegade.

The regulations of the subdivision in which Ms. Taylor lives effectively prohibit outdoor clotheslines. In a move that has torn apart this otherwise tranquil community, the development’s managers have threatened legal action. To the developer and many residents, clotheslines evoke the urban blight they sought to avoid by settling in the Oregon mountains.

“This bombards the senses,” interior designer Joan Grundeman says of her neighbor’s clothesline. “It can’t possibly increase property values and make people think this is a nice neighborhood.”

Ms. Taylor and her supporters argue that clotheslines are one way to fight climate change, using the sun and wind instead of electricity. …

The battle of Awbrey Butte is an unanticipated consequence of increasing environmental consciousness, pitting the burgeoning right-to-dry movement against community standards across the country.

The clothesline was once a ubiquitous part of the residential landscape. But as postwar Americans embraced labor-saving appliances, clotheslines came to be associated with people who couldn’t afford a dryer. Now they are a rarity, purged from the suburban landscape by legally enforceable development restrictions.

Nationwide, about 60 million people now live in about 300,000 “association governed” communities, most of which restrict outdoor laundry hanging…

But the rules are costly to the environment — and to consumers — clothesline advocates argue. Clothes dryers account for 6% of total electricity consumed by U.S. households
(18 September 2007)
Serious DIY by Sharon Astyk: Cut Your Laundry Energy. When our electric drier died, we switched to air drying our clothes. After several months, it’s become a habit. Clothes smell nicer too. -BA

New energy agency chief sees household energy use rising in industrial countries

Judy Dempsey, International Herald Tribune
BERLIN: Despite the growing political commitment to tackling global warming, individual energy use and carbon emissions in the leading industrial countries have actually increased in recent years, the new head of a major energy advisory group said Monday.

Nobuo Tanaka, the first non-European chosen to lead the International Energy Agency, said during an interview that Europe, Canada, Australia and particularly the United States had to do much more to increase energy efficiency if they wanted to have any credibility when calling on India and China to act.

“The leading industrial countries are not on a path to sustainable energy future,” said Tanaka, a Japanese economist and diplomat who became the IEA’s executive director Sept. 1.

“There was a big effort to increase efficiency during the 1980s because of the oil price shocks,” he said. “But these efforts subsided over the 1990s.”

The statistics were released in Berlin as energy and environmental ministers from 20 countries met to prepare for the United Nations climate talks in Bali, Indonesia, in December. They should shift some of the spotlight away from India and China, which along with the United States are among the world’s biggest producers of CO2 emissions
(10 September 2007)

Power prices set to surge

Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney
From expensive construction costs to uncertainty over global warming laws, experts say electricity bills are only headed higher.

For a long time, conventional wisdom has held that coal would easily meet the nation’s rising demand for electricity. It’s cheap, and there’s enough of it in the U.S. to power the country for an estimated 250 years.

But a combination of rising construction costs for coal-fired power-plants and uncertainty over whether Congress will regulate emissions of carbon dioxide – a byproduct of burning coal and one of the main gasses behind global warming – has put plans for many new plants on hold.

With the nation’s demand for power expected to surge 50 percent over the next 30 years, the result may be higher electricity costs for everyone.
(12 September 2007)

Energy efficient appliances should be made compulsory, says UN expert

Associated Press
Governments should make energy efficient appliances and building materials compulsory because that is the smartest way of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, a U.N. expert said Tuesday.

The technology for making appliances that use less electricity – such as light bulbs, air conditioners and refrigerators – already exists but manufacturers don’t make them because there is no legal push, said Marcel Alers, a climate change expert of the United Nations Development Program.

Using such appliances means power plants will burn less coal to produce electricity, leading to a reduction in emissions that contribute to climate change and its effects – flooding, rising sea levels, melting of polar caps and forest fires among others.
(11 September 2007)