Wednesday, April 6, 2016

US East and West Coast - States' Legislation for Right to Dry

       The Public Raffle proposal offers a universal participation element without including monetary exchange. Instead the raffle offers the opportunity to acknowledge the California statewide legislation for “Right to Dry” that is intended for individuals to aid in energy conservation.
            The California statewide legislation intrigued me, so I investigated laws from my home state, Delaware. I have never been under a residency ordinance that prohibits hanging laundry outside. I have grown-up with the tradition of hanging laundry out to dry and have observed my suburban neighbors in the everyday practice.
            I have done some local research on my neighborhood restrictions that are dated from 1954. These restrictions are recorded with the State of Delaware Deed Records. Restriction number ten is specifically about drying laundry. Below the image shows the wording of the detailed instructions for drying laundry in the backyard. 

            Neither of my adjacent neighbors nor myself uses the portable revolving type of laundry dryers that is specifically mentioned in the description. My clothesline is tied to a tree in the backyard and is attached by an eyehook to the back porch area of my home. My one neighbor has a similar set-up for their clothesline. My other neighbor has old metal T posts that are permanently set-up in the ground to construct laundry lines. Those metal poles were there from my previous neighbor who lived there for many years. The couple that purchased the home recently repainted the rusty poles a bright lime green color and does use the laundry lines. In my neighborhood there have not been any restriction with various forms of laundry lines.
            A 2012 Sightline Institute article argues that outside laundry drying relies on solar energy. While laws in Delaware (Title 29 Chapter 80) allow for roof mounted solar energy systems there are no specific laws for clotheslines. The article refers to the State of Oregon law that voids restrictions on “solar radiation as a source for heating, cooling or electrical energy.” Solar rights in specific US states can include clotheslines as a low-tech version of solar power by the act of hang-drying, which relies on the sun’s radiation to evaporate water in wet laundry.  
             Southern California does have a different climate than the Mid-Atlantic region, especially with the changing of the seasons. 

  On a clear fall day, I rely less on solar drying and more on wind power for my laundry and energy conservation. In the fall season the sun’s heat is less intense in the northern part of the East Coast. Last fall, I was working through very preliminary ideas for the 2016 On The Line submission with video and capturing my wind blown laundry. The included video clip appropriately represents how the change of seasons does affect the everyday practice of drying laundry. 

California Becomes a “Right to Dry” State! (2015) [Internet], Berkeley, Nolo Law for All. Available from:
[Accessed December 8, 2015].

TITLE 29 Chapter 80 [Internet]. Delaware, State of Delaware The Official Website of the First State. Available from: [Accessed March 18, 2016].

Howland, J. (2012) Clothesline Bans Void in 19 States. [Internet]. Seattle, Sightline Institute. Available from: [Accessed December 8, 2015].  

Lyons, J. (2015) Brown signs bill reversing bans on clotheslines. [Internet]. San Francisco, SFGATE. Available from: [Accessed December 8, 2015].

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