credit: martcatnoc – flickr
A recent opinion piece in the New Scientist, “‘Right to dry’ could wean Americans off consumption,” by Alexander Lee, talks about how much energy could be saved if we dried our clothes on a line rather than in a tumble dryer, and about the various property rules and regs that restrict or outright forbid clotheslines. Lee runs Project Laundry List, which estimates that dryers are responsible for 10 to 15 per cent of the energy consumed by U.S. households.
This reminded me that we reported on Ontario’s ban of clothesline banning about a year and a half ago. At that time the relevant legislation was the captivatingly captioned Energy Conservation Leadership Act, 2006. That is now a dead letter, and the authority has been transferred to section 4 of the Green Energy Act, 2009, in force since early last month.
Clotheslines now get their explicit protection under O. Reg. 97/08 pursuant to the Green Energy Act. I’m going to set out here a bit of that statutory material because I find it interesting to see how it deals with such humble, domestic objects and practices.
1. The following are designated for the purposes of subsection 3 (1) [sic] of the Act:
- Any goods and technologies that have a purpose that is the same as a clothesline or clothestree, and no other purpose…
I wouldn’t have thought to mention “clothestrees,” but I can see that it makes sense. But what of that “and no other purpose” proviso? Would a bush become “designated” if I draped my shirt over it to dry, or does the bush have an “other purpose”? Does this fail to protect my balcony railing if I use it as a clothestree?
There’s probably not a lot in laundry law to support practitioners, even in these hard times. So questions like these will likely go unanswered, I fear.