This website contains the main outputs of a three year multidisciplinary project led by the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU) at the Glasgow School of Art, in partnership with the Centre for Research on Indoor Climate and Health (RICH) at Glasgow Caledonian University and the Energy Systems Research Unit (ESRU) at the University of Strathclyde.

The Problem

PASSIVE DRYING LAUNDRY POSES A HEALTH
RISK IN CURRENT HOUSING DESIGN

HEALTH RISKS

There are three main health risks associated with indoor drying, all relating to moisture.

MOISTURE AND EXCESS DUST MITES

= asthma risk

INDOOR DRYING + FABRIC SOFTENER

= hazardous carcinogenic chemical
= health risk heightened with moisture

INDOOR DRYING

= high mould spore count
= asthma, eczema etc. risks

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SCOTTISH CONTEXT

  • High level of fuel poverty: — 32.7% Scotland — 20.1% England
  • More indoor drying
  • Less tumble dryer usage in Glasgow
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INDOOR DRYING HABITS

  • 87% dry indoor during the heating season
  • Open window + heat
    = fuel poverty
  • Closed window + moisture
    = health risk
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MOISTURE FROM DRYING

30% of moisture in homes is attributable to clothes drying on wash days.

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TUMBLE DRYING – HEALTHIER BUT ENERGY INTENSIVE

3.5 kWh per typical cycle

The Solution

DEDICATED DRYING SPACES

Current housing has a lack of dedicated drying spaces, utility rooms or other suitable spaces in which to dry clothes within the home. Not only can the sun, even in Scotland, help to dry our clothes, it is also a natural disinfectant.

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COVERED OUTDOOR DRYING

  • Sun disinfects washing
  • Zero energy consumption
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INDOOR DRYING CUPBOARD

  • Health risk removed
  • Low energy consumption

COMMUNAL DRYING SPACE

  • Make waterproof but well ventilated
  • Take advantage of sunshine
  • Remove drying from homes
pdf
Download the Environmental Assessment of Domestic Laundering (3.6Mb PDF)

The scope of the study involved a survey of 100 households in Glasgow, in—depth monitoring and analysis of 22 of these, laboratory analysis of air samples and the affect of moisture on materials and advanced moisture modelling.

Design Guide: Healthy Low Energy Home Laundering

The Design Guide: Healthy Low Energy Home Laundering is a key output, aimed at all those involved in housing procurement, and recommends changes to statutory standards and best practice. The study found that current practice consumes too much energy and compromises health, and therefore implementation of the guidance would have significant economic benefit.

The Design Guide is augmented by technical reports from the three research units and links to related technical papers.