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Wednesday23 July 2014

Architects say drying clothes inside is ‘health risk’

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Mac researchers say tightening of building regulations is needed

A group of researchers at the Glasgow School of Art have found that drying clothes indoors can release two litres of moisture into the air, posing a health risk.

The Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU) at the Glasgow School of Art found that if clothes are dried in ill-ventilated rooms they create conditions allowing mould spores to grow and dust mites to thrive, contributing to asthma.

Alternatively, if windows are opened it results in higher energy costs.

The news comes as the government announced a wide ranging review into building regulations and standards. In a press release issued yesterday the DCLG listed a series of existing mandatory guidelines it called “confusing”.

This included the requirement “that ‘drying space’ is designed and assessed when often this is nothing more complicated than a washing line over a bath”.

But the MEARU said building regulations must be tightened to ensure new homes are properly equipped for drying clothes.

It suggests providing drying space isolated from the rest of the house with its own heat and ventilation, providing individual and communal exterior covered drying spaces; upgrading balconies and sunspaces; returning to the provision of communal laundry facilities in high-density housing; ensuring there is heat recovery from grey water and solar energy capture and that efficient appliances fitted in properties.  

“Minor changes to the wording of the regulations would have multiple beneficial consequences,” said Colin Porteous.

“Our research gives strong justification for the changes both in terms of health and wellbeing, and associated economic impacts. It is our hope that current statutory and advisory standards will be modified to take them on board thereby ensuring healthy and economically sustainable living environments.”

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Readers' comments (18)

  • More regulations, more hassle for you and me, more jobs for the boys.

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  • ^^ eh??!!

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  • Gramsci

    Warning! Smoking inside is a health risk. Architects are now recommending no glazing in windows in case someone decided to smoke inside...

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  • Daniel Hewitt

    The above comments suggest a lack of experience with a large amount (perhaps even the majority) of our urban housing.

    Designing a home (flat or house) with drying space should be as obvious as designing built-in storage.

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  • tesserae

    Have they tested for mites in places of those less able to launder so often to gauge a comparison?

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  • Beavis

    Bravo GSA, useless piece of information, thanks

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  • Cooking indoors is much too dangerous and should be banned. Boiling a pot of water for pasta produces litres and litres of moisture into the air, posing a health risk. Breathing out releases carbon dioxide, which as we know is poisonous, so immediately breathing in again can result in the ingestion of noxious gases that can kill, say University Researchers.

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  • Surely the problem is lack of ventilation leading to excessive humidity and thus condensation, providing conditions for mold spore growth?

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  • So how is this reconciled with the need for dwellings to pass an airtightness test?

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  • and why is this a surprise?

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