Eco-Friendly Product Design Company: The Drumi

Speaker: Megan SavageWritten By: Sheena & Esha Jain

OVERVIEW:

            DRUMI, the foot powered washing machine, what lead to the invention of this “travel size” laundry machine? It all started with an innovative university student, Yi Jiang and an unpleasant experience at the laundromat. This lead to further research, regarding other disadvantages of public laundromats.

            Some of the biggest concerns with public laundromats include environmental factors such as CO2 emissions, energy and water consumption as well as travel time required to go to the laundromat to get clothes cleaned. Based on his research, the following statistics were found:

Per load Annually (if 1X/week)
500 Watts of Power 26 Kilowatts of power
50 L of Water 2600L of Water
2.4 kg CO2 emission 124.8kg CO2 emission
$4 per load $200

These factors have detrimental effects on our environment because they contribute to ocean acidification, smog pollution and ozone depletion. These environmental issues in turn, have a direct effect on human health and plant growth. Health concerns that arise following exposure include: reduced life expectancy, inhalation of emissions can lead to lung cancer as well as increases chances of developing respiratory and cardiac disease. Harmful effects on plant growth and nutrition levels include a 2-5% decrease in key staple crops.

The development of the DRUMI made many breakthroughs in reducing the negative effects of public laundromats. Its convenience reduces the total amount of time required to travel to the laundromat and complete a load of laundry. With the Drumi, one can complete a load of 7 articles of clothing in a total of 5-10 minutes, decreasing laundry days by up to 75%.  It uses only 5-10L of water per load and reduces consumption by up to 90 kg of CO2 emission per year. The development of the Drumi has been successful in diminishing many environmental concerns that occur with public laundromats. If the Drumi is implemented by all GTA residents it can reduce carbon neutrality by almost 300 million (254 700 000)kg CO2 emissions each year.

           Increasing awareness and educating more people about the advances made by the development of the Drumi, can allow more of the population to take advantage of all of its potential benefits, while simultaneously helping to improve our environment.

Discussion Question:

1)      What are other ways in which human activity causes CO2 emissions into the environment?

 

Electricity - Electricity is generated through fossil fuel combustion

- The amount of CO2 emission varies based on the type of fossil fuel being used

- CO2 emission is greater when burning coal is used to generate electricity in

 comparison to using oils or natural gases

Transportation

(e.g. highway vehicles, air travel, marine transportation & rail)

- The second largest source of CO2 emission is the use fossil fuel combustion

  for transportation

- Fossil fuels used for transportation include: Gasoline & Diesel

Industry - Industries emit CO2 through:

  → Fossil fuel combustion

  → Chemical reactions:

              - Mineral (e.g. cement) production & consumption

          - Metal (Iron, Steel) production

          - Chemical production

  → Indirectly through electricity usage

 

2) What are other ways in which we can reduce the emission of CO2 into the environment?

 

Method How to Execute
Energy Efficiency - Fuel efficient vehicles

- Efficient electrical appliances (e.g. ENERGY STAR appliances)

- Improving building insulation

Energy Conservation - Only turning on lights & electronics when in use

- ↓petroleum consumption by ↓ vehicle usage  

Fuel Switching - Using renewable sources

- Switching to fossil fuels that emit less CO2

Capturing & Sequestering Carbon - Capturing & compressing CO2 emitted into the environment

- Using pipelines, transport CO2  ≥1 mile underground, where CO2 is trapped

 underneath non-porous rock, preventing it from entering into the atmosphere

 

3)      What effects does CO­2 Emission have on our environment?

Atmosphere - ↑ the Earth’s temperature

- Overtime could increase to temperatures that are unable to support living organisms

Ocean - Ocean Acidification affecting marine organisms

 1) Bicarbonate forms when carbonate ions react to waters carbonic acid

  →  These carbonate ions are typically used to create calcium carbonate shells of aquatic   

            organisms like coral

  →  Reduced availability of these ions, causes more energy expenditure to make shells,

       causing them to be thin and more fragile

 2) The more acidic the water the better able it is to dissolve calcium carbonate

   →  As water acidity increases, carbonate shells of aquatic organisms will dissolve

                   creating weak & pitted shells  

- ↑ Ocean temperature, creating  unfavourable conditions for the growth of Phytoplankton

Land - ↑ Environmental temperatures & humidity à extends growing season of plants, which  

  increases plant growth  

- Increased plant growth increases amount of water required by plants

- Overtime this places stress on plants

  → Causing plants to slow growth in summer due to  ↑ temperatures and less available water

  → These “dry water-stressed plants” are more vulnerable to insects & fires

 

SOURCES:

1)      "Overview of Greenhouse Gases." Carbon Dioxide Emissions. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2016. (https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/co2.html)

2)      "The Carbon Cycle : Feature Articles." The Carbon Cycle : Feature Articles. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2016. (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page5.php)