Facts about washing clothes
If a family halved the temperature on both 60º and 40º C washes to 30º and 20º C respectively, each family would save 95 kWh per year. For the 2.45 million Danish families, this is the equivalent of circa 230 GWh (230 million kWh) per year – or just over 53 million Euros.
The amount of clothes washed by Danish families
An average 2.2 person household (average Danish family) washes around 600 kg of clothes per year – equivalent to approximately 225 kWh per year.
Laundry activity by Danish families is divided into roughly 270 washes, as follows: 35 washes at 90º C; 90 washes at 60º C; and 145 washes at 40º C. Using a modern domestic washing machine this equates to power consumption of around 225 kWh per year.
This was the conclusion of a Danish research programme run by the Elforsk AB research organisation on how often Danes washed their clothes and how much they can save.
Savings to be made
If families halved the temperature on both 60º and 40º C washes to 30º and 20º C respectively, the electricity consumption would add up to only 130 kWh per year. This equates to a saving of 95 kWh. If you consider this in terms of the 2.45 million households in Denmark, this results in a potential saving of approximately 230 GWh (230 million kWh) per year – or just over 53 million Euros.
However, some families with members who are allergic to dust mites will continue to wash clothes at 60º C; because of this the estimate of potential energy savings for washing clothes in Denmark can be revised to 200 GWh per year. This should be set in context against the current total estimated energy consumption for washing clothes in Denmark of 650 GWh per year.
The estimate was arrived at on the basis of the research into ‘Low temperature/cold water washing powder’ carried out by the Elforsk AB research organisation. The research used data from ‘ELMODEL-bolig’ and results from a laundry habits project: ‘What influences do laundry habits have on the amount of energy used by a family to wash clothes’, presented at the Nesa/DONG Energy, Rambøll and Ankershus Seminar in December 2005.
Research projects are at the heart of advice on washing clothes
Cold water washing powder has been developed in a research project financed by Elforsk AB in collaboration with Novozymes, the Danish Technological Institute, DONG Energy and Danlind, which holds the licence for the Flower Ecolabel. Read more about the project. (in Danish)
The background to the savings advice includes the following research projects:
‘What influences do laundry habits have on the amount of energy used by a family to wash clothes’, presented at the Nesa/DONG Energy, Rambøll and Ankershus Seminar in December 2005.
‘Low temperature/cold water washing powder’ as part of the energy research programme carried out by Elforsk AB.