As I mentioned in my somewhat controversial post on 5 un-green things I hate about America (before I start getting death threats again, I want to note that I also wrote 5 green things I love about America), I had never owned a clothes dryer till I came to the States. That may be why I wasn't aware that clothes dryers don't just run on electric—they can be gas powered too. But which is better, from an environmental perspective? Our own Pablo has already calculated that gas dryers win over electric, but there's no harm in a second opinion. Who better to answer that question than the carbon geeks and number crunchers at Terrapass? That's why Erin Craig explains the choices she made when she had to choose between a gas and electric dryer:
Over the years I've always assumed "gas" because generating electricity by burning fuel and then making heat with the electricity is a very inefficient way to create heat. But the California electric grid has lots of carbon-free generation sources, so I decided to run the numbers.
The end result of Craig's calculation was that—even in California—her dryer would produce twice as much CO2 if it ran on electric rather than natural gas. And on a national average, the figures for electric dryers are more like three-times the emissions. Head over to Terrapass for the full detailed calculations of electric versus gas dryers. Of course it goes without saying that the solar-powered dryer, aka the clothesline, offers the greenest drying of all.