Revitalizing the Right to Dry Campaign

Presented by the SPEC Energy & Transportation Committee

For Vancouver residents hoping to reduce energy consumption at home, switching from a clothes dryer to a clothesline is an easy and affordable option. Yet some residents hoping to use clotheslines are being denied their right to dry.  

If you live in a strata complex and have tried to hang-dry your clothing outside, odds are you have been reprimanded. That is because B.C. allows residential buildings to ban clotheslines for aesthetic purposes. Many stratas have a bylaw which states:

A resident must ensure that no air conditioning units, laundry, flags, clothing, bedding or other articles are hung or displayed from windows, balconies or other parts of the building so that they are visible from outside of the building.”

However, it is important for residents to have the option to use a clothesline, both for saving energy and money. It is estimated that clothes dryers make up 9% of residential electricity consumption in BC. If just half of condo and apartment owners in B.C. line-dried their clothes for even one quarter of the year it would result in savings of 60 million kilowatt hours every year. That is over 1 million kg of CO2e GHG emissions per year!

The governments of Ontario, Nova Scotia and six U.S. states have passed legislation to overrule clothesline bans and SPEC’s Energy & Transportation Committee believes that B.C. should be next. The committee is currently working with a team of UBC students to research the importance of having the right to dry, with the intention of petitioning the public and bringing the results to the Vancouver City Council.

If you want to learn more about Right to Dry, come to the next Energy & Transportation Committee meeting on February 21, or stay tuned for updates on our research.


Jon Howland’s Original Report on Sightline from 2012: http://www.sightline.org/2012/05/16/does-bc-mean-bans-clotheslines/

Business in Vancouver follow-up to Howland’s article: https://biv.com/article/2012/06/unsightly-solutions-to-removing-wrong-headed-restr

Credit to Rob Baxter from Vancouver Renewable Energy and SPEC’s Energy Committee for assisting with research.


Additional article from BuzzBuzzNews Canada: