The World’s First Solar-Powered Laundry Dryer

Miele's new solar-powered clothes dryerMiele's new solar-powered dryer uses 80% less energy than a standard unit, making it both wallet- and eco-friendly. Image: Miele

The only thing more energy efficient than this tumble dryer is a clothesline.

We heart green-minded energy-savers. That’s why we’re fascinated with Miele’s latest household appliance. The forward-thinking manufacturer unveiled the first solar-powered dryer this year at IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show.

The robotically named T 8881S EcoComfort is so crazy efficient that the European Union gave it its highest energy rating, an A+++; the dryer uses 80% less energy than a standard unit.

And, in an ironic twist, the T 8881 S EcoComfort uses water to dry your clothes.

How It Works

To operate the unit, you need to install solar panels. But instead of generating electricity, the panels are used to heat water that fires up the dryer. Once the water is heated, it’s housed in a water tank connected to the home’s central heating system.

If you’re a geek and want more detail, here’s what each of the four lines or hoses that connect the system does:

  • The first line releases hot water to the dryer’s heat exchanger where it’s processed into hot air that dries laundry.
  • The second sends the water back to the tank after it’s cooled down.
  • A third releases cool water when the dryer’s heat needs to be reduced.
  • The fourth sends moisture extracted from the dryer’s contents by a second heat exchanger back to the tank.

Coming to the U.S.?

So here’s the part that puts my dryer sheets in a twist: Although a solar-powered system like this could help American households trim energy bills and even combat climate change, Miele won’t be selling this appliance in the U.S.

Why? When it comes to adopting clean and renewable energy sources like solar, the U.S. lags  Europe, especially Germany, where Miele is based. Currently, Germany is a world green energy leader — 8.5 million Germans live and work in solar-powered buildings.

Well, until solar becomes mainstream in this part of the world, check out these tips for saving energy in the laundry room.

Related: In the market for a new appliance? Check out our appliance buying guides.