Step 8: If you use a dryer
-Don't over-dry clothes. Baking them well past dry wastes energy and can damage clothes. Many new dryers have moisture sensors. Whether or not you have such a sensor, experiment with settings to find the minimum setting that still adequately dries the clothes.
-If you are buying a new washer, get one that has a high-speed spin cycle that gets more water out of the clothes. If you aren't anticipating getting a new washer soon, you can add this capability with a stand-alone high-speed spinner. It gets most of the water out of the clothes before you put them in the dryer, using much less energy.
-Some clothes dry much faster than others. If you need to run some clothes through the dryer to have something to wear to tomorrow's meeting, go ahead and put the lightweight dress shirt in the dryer with some other quick-drying stuff, and save out the cotton canvas pants to line dry.
-Don't run the dryer too empty or too full. It's a waste to run it without a full load, but if it's overfilled, the air can't circulate and it doesn't dry effectively or uniformly.
-Gas powered dryers are overall much more efficient than electric dryers, if you consider the energy losses in the power plant that burns gas to produce the electricity. If you have natural gas supplied to your house, but have an electric dryer, consider upgrading to a gas dryer (if you use it a lot). You can also install a propane tank and a propane-powered dryer even if you don't have natural gas.
-In Europe, one can get heat-pump dryers that effectively use a dehumidifier instead of a simple electric heater to remove moisture from the clothes, drastically decreasing the energy use. Appliance manufacturers say that Americans won't buy them because they are a little slower and we're too impatient. If you are in Europe, you can buy one; if you are in the US, you can call appliance manufacturers and tell them you want one even it it's slower.