The Economic and Environmental Impact of Communal Laundry Spaces in High Density Housing in the UK

By Rosalie Menon, Colin Porteous and Haruna Musa.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper supplements data obtained in the course of a collaborative, EPSRC-funded research project (‘Environmental Assessment of Domestic Laundering’ led by the Mackintosh School of Architecture with Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde). The aim of the paper is to compare energy and related impacts from individual domestic washing and drying appliances with those for communal laundry facilities. Having set the historical context, including a rather unsatisfactory status quo with respect to standards and regulation, the methodology and data-acquisition for analysis is outlined. This involved face-to-face questionnaires and spot measurements with 100 representative households in Glasgow’s public sector (range of low-, medium- and high-rise) and longer-term measurements and diaries associated with 20 of these. Further questionnaire data from 36 housing providers with regard to communal facilities augmented extrapolations from short-term metrics in a specific shared laundry facility at the base of a 1960s tower block. Although further detailed work is suggested, the findings indicate distinct advantages for communal facilities of this nature, in particular with respect to the drying process. In this regard, not only are the energy loads much higher than those for washing, but also the negative consequences of various methods used in the home are potentially serious in terms of health and wellbeing. Concluding comments also recognize that a degree of flexibility and choice is desirable in terms of individual and shared approaches, and hence makes suggestions for a range of measures that might be incorporated in improved statutory and ‘best practice’ standards.

Keywords: Environmental Benefit, Energy efficiency, Communal laundry, Domestic Laundry

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.191-202. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 901.739KB).

Rosalie Menon

Lecturer, Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Ms Rosalie Menon BSc (hons), MArch, RIBA, ARIAS has been a lecturer of Architectural Technology at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow since 2005. She is also a key member of the research unit MEARU ( Mackintosh Environmental Architectural Research Unit). Before taking up her post at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, she was Design Studio tutor at Strathclyde University Architecture Department for 5 years and was a practising architect with the international multidisciplinary firm RMJM. The Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit has been in operation for over 12 years and has an established track record of high quality research into environmental architecture. The unit undertakes both research and consultancy, with corporate clients well as commercial and public organisations including housing associations and architects. Rosalie’s research interests, which relate closely to her practice and teaching, include sustainable initiatives in residential developments; the use of indigenous building materials and techniques in contemporary construction and the integration of technical knowledge in the creative design process. She is currently an investigator in the EPSRC funded project to assess the environmental impact of domestic laundering in the UK context.

Prof. Colin Porteous

Senior Researcher, Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Prof. Colin Porteous inaugurated MEARU (Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit) in 1993, having spent some years in general architectural practice (1964-81), postgraduate studies (1981-84) and community practice (1984-86); thereafter commencing full-time research and teaching at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in 1986, and appointed Senior Lecturer in charge of Architectural Science, 1991 (PhD also 1991). He later took on the role of Senior Research Fellow, August 2003-06 (Part-time 2006-) and was appointed Professor of Architectural Science, February 2004. Ongoing internationally disseminated research is mainly in the field of solar energy, applied within architectural practice and includes two books - THE NEW eco-ARCHITECTURE, Alternatives from the modern movement, Spon Press, 2002; and Solar Architecture in Cool Climates, Earthscan, 2005. He remains active on the Board of ISES-Europe and on several international/scientific committees of solar/environmental conferences etc.

Dr. Haruna Musa

Senior Research Assistant, Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Dr Haruna Musa studied at the Federal University of Technology, Yola-Nigeria graduated with B.Tech (Hons) in Urban and Regional Planning (Environmental Assessment) in 2001. He was awarded an overseas scholarship from the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Nigeria in 2003, to study MSc Instrumental Analytical Sciences (Environmental Analysis) at The Robert Gordon University. Thereafter he secured a PhD studentship from Glasgow Caledonian University, at the Centre for Research in Indoor Climate and Health (RICH) within the university. His research examined the metabolites production and potential health effects of mould growth associated with buildings. Haruna currently holds the post of senior research assistant at the Mackintsoh Environmental Research Architecture Unit, at Glasgow School of Art, involved with ESPRC funded project: Environmental assessment of domestic laundering. He belongs to the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Management (IEMA), Society for Applied Microbiology (SFAM), British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS)and remains active in the area of environmental assesment, indoor air qaulity and human comfort in enclosed buildings.


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