Energy Savings or Aesthetics in BC: The Clotheslines of Discord

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Energy Saving or Aesthetics in BC: The Clotheslines of Discord

In British Columbia, strict condominium corporation regulations prevent many residents from setting up a clothesline on their balcony to dry clothes. Many denounce that aesthetic reasons motivate these regulations and advocate this method to reduce energy consumption.

In several countries of around the world, clothes are often dried outdoors, but in British Columbia, strict regulations prevent many residents from setting up a clothesline or drying rack on their balcony.

The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UMCB) supports the use of clotheslines to reduce energy consumption. She is now calling on the province to enact legislation that ensures no regulations unreasonably prevent the use of a clothesline.

Tanushree Pillai hung up her children's swimsuits to dry on her balcony in New Westminster after their swimming lesson. She then received a letter from her condo board, warning her that she had to explain why she had broken the rules, and that she would have to pay a fine if she refused to do so.

I was so shocked that it was banned. It's 2022. We're in a climate emergency, she says.

Resolution passed by UMCB recommends that nothing prohibit residents from using clotheslines outside a single-family home or on the ground floor of an apartment building multi-unit residential. It also stipulates that residents should not be prevented from using clothes racks on outdoor balconies.

The clothesline law resolution is among those presented to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Annual Convention held in Whistler September 12-16, 2022.

A clothesline law is not a new concept. Already in 2010, the NDP government in Nova Scotia introduced a bill allowing the use of clotheslines throughout the province.

There is a movement across North America, reports Rob Baxter, a volunteer with the Society for the Advancement of Environmental Conservation (SPEC). According to him, several states in the United States have also passed similar laws.

This is a simple, inexpensive and easy step to take to reduce our energy consumption. #x27;energy, he argues.

Tanushree Pillai also believes that bylaws prohibiting outdoor drying of clothes disadvantages people living in poverty who cannot afford to use the clothes dryer every day.

< p class="e-p">It's classist. It's elitist, she points out.

Condominium Owners Association of British Columbia director Tony Gioventu says most advice condominiums are flexible regarding drying racks.

However, stricter regulations are in place for clotheslines because they cause damage to the exterior envelope of buildings and hurt property values, he said.

The aesthetics of a property can impact the value of those around it, he says.

Even if the province passes the clotheslines law, he continues, residents will likely still have to ask their condo corporation to approve amendment agreements to install clotheslines poles, and it doesn't. There's no guarantee companies will grant those wishes, he says.

According to BC Hydro, clothes dryers generally use more energy than any other major appliance. They can account for up to 12% of a household's electricity consumption and are found in 85% of customer homes.

With information from The Early Edition and Joel Ballard

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