June 23, 2009

Two Green Strategies at 3 Palms

by: Taz Loomans

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Use our glorious sun, nix the dryer!

Have you ever noticed how fast things dry in Phoenix in the summer?  Make a puddle of water on the sidewalk and it’ll be gone in ten minutes!  We decided to harness this wonderful Phoenix drying power to dry our laundry in lieu of using a dryer.  Our tenants are on board with this as well and are all for the savings on their energy bill!

The first component to our greener laundry system at 3 Palms is our front-loading washing machine.  Front-loading washing machines use 40%-60% less water than top loading ones.  They are also more energy efficient than top loaders.  Plus, the clothes come out less damp from a front-loading washing machine shortening the drying time.

Front-Loading Washing Machine:

We struggled to find a solution to the drawback of a clothesline which is that it gets in the way when you are not using it.  The solution is to install a retractable clothesline which they sell at Home Depot or any other home improvement store.  We attached this pulley mechanism to our masonry fin wall and stretched the clothesline all the way to a hook on our laundry closet.  When we were done, we just unhooked the clothesline and it automatically got pulled into the pulley and voila! no clothesline!

Retractable clothesline:

Along with the sun’s drying power comes the heat as well all know here in Phoenix!  We thought it was important to install the clothes line under shade to make the process of hanging the clothes more comfortable.

West sun begone!

Our kitchen window is on the west side.  If you happen to be standing in front of this window in the afternoon you would totally bake!  It would get hot to the point where it was uncomfortable, even when the air conditioning was running.  As you know, deflecting the sun BEFORE it gets in your house is more effective than putting shades up inside the house.  So we decided to mount bamboo shades on the outside of the house.

Bamboo shades on the exterior of the west window:

The result is fabulous, it’s so much more comfortable in front of that window now and we can wash dishes and not melt.  Plus I know this has a huge impact on our cooling costs as well since our air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the kitchen any more!

The much more comfortable interior side of the kitchen window:

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