Efficient Laundry Room Design Ideas
The process of doing laundry consumes a lot energy, water and chemicals. There are plenty of little ways to reduce your environmental impact while doing laundry, such as setting your washing machine to cold instead of hot, line drying your clothing and purchasing organic laundry detergent. However, your choice of finishes and appliances truly determines how green the space really is. Consider these laundry room design ideas to make this clean space a little greener.
Green Washers and Dryers
Energy-efficient is the keyword when selecting a green washer and dryer. Some new models use up to 50% less energy than standard versions, and if you buy one with anEnergy Star label, you know you’re saving at least 37% less energy and using half the amount of water. As a general rule of thumb, front load washers are more efficient than top loaders. Top load machines submerge your clothes in a pool of water and “agitate” them to remove dirt, while front load machines spin your clothes around like a dryer, using less water and leaving your clothes dryer at the end of the cycle. Pay attention to the size of the drum, which determines how much water the machine uses, measured as the “water factor.” Look for machines with a factor between 3 and 8, the lower the better. Also look for a machine with programmable wash cycles so you can manually adjust the temperature and level of water for each cycle, as needed.
Unfortunately there are no Energy Star dryers. All models use a lot of energy, second only to your refrigerator. The best option is still to dry your clothes the old fashioned way: hang them on a line or rack. Since many synthetic fabrics are “line dry only” anyway, that helps to reduce the load on your dryer, pun intended. If you must dry your clothes in a dryer, be careful not to let it run excessively and avoid the highest heat setting.
Sustainable Laundry Room Finishes
The most important quality to look for in floor and wall finishes for your laundry room is durability. Flooring should be waterproof in case of spills or leaks, so wood and carpet are out of the question. Consider installing recycled tiles or rubber flooring, or leaving the floor concrete and painting or staining it. Paint your walls with a low VOC semi-gloss paint that you can easily wipe down, or install colorful recycled glass tiles as a backsplash if you have a sink. You shouldn’t be a afraid to use color in the laundry room. Sure, it’s a utilitarian space, but it doesn’t have to look like it.
Laundry Room Design and Layout
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a large laundry room, then you must be mindful of how you layout the space. Besides, a small footprint is a greener footprint. Incorporate these laundry room design ideas to make the most of your space:
- Install vertical shelving. Use salvaged or FSC wood planks to create open shelving above your washer and dryer.
- Invest in a stacked washer/dryer unit to conserve space.
- Incorporate other uses in your laundry room, such a home office, craft workshop, or gardening area.
- Position the dryer as close as possible to an exterior wall so the vent is short and straight, improving airflow and efficiency. There are ventless models, but they tend to be expensive and take longer to dry your clothes.
- Use under cabinet LED fixtures to illuminate your work surface so you can read tags and fold like a pro.
- Leave plenty of open space beyond front load appliances so you can maneuver around open doors.
- Retractable clotheslines save space when you’re not doing laundry.