If I as an individual buy a super-green washing machine, it may take years to “earn out” (to have saved me more in water and energy costs than the difference in price between the green machine and cheaper, more wasteful alternatives). Ten people using that same machine, however, would earn out much more quickly (as well as reducing their individual backstory footprints), meaning they could live more sustainably, more cheaply.
This quote from a Feb 2007 article by Alex Steffen of Worldchanging made me think. It’s so much more convenient to have a washer & dryer in your building than to go to a laundromat. It’s also probably more energy- and water-efficient to use an individual “super-green washing machine” than it is to use the machines in a laundromat. What if the tenants of a building without such a machine got together at the beginning of the lease term and approached the landlord with a proposal: we band together and purchase a good washer & dryer for you to keep in the building after we leave. It would be in the tenants’ interest, because their individual shares of the cost would likely be less than their annual laundromat bills. It would be in the landlord’s interest, because having an in-building washer & dryer makes an apartment more desirable, and she doesn’t have to pay for the added value. Is there something flawed in my assumptions? Why don’t more tenants do this?