At Richard Jay, one of our proudest community collaborations has been with Orange Sky – the world’s first free mobile laundry in a van for people experiencing homelessness.
Ever since, Richard Jay has been donating durable washers and dryers from leading laundry brand LG Commercial to support Orange Sky in their important work.
Naturally, operating laundries on wheels sometimes presents technical challenges and the vans have only been able to travel so far outside of the city – until now.
“Putting dryers into mobile units has traditionally required significant resources and ongoing repairs,” said Orange Sky Co-founder Nic Marchesi. “These issues would limit what we could achieve and where we could operate.”
The innovative team at Orange Sky have devised a solution by converting 34 LG Commercial dryers to a solar-charged, diesel-driven operating system that reduces energy consumption by 80 per cent.
Orange Sky’s Lead Engineer, Ben Battaglia, said, “Most clothes dryers use electrical resistance heating elements, which are inherently large users of electrical energy, so we focused on ways to eliminate the need for these elements.”
By changing the heating mechanism, the new dryer is powered by fuel burners and batteries (which are charged using solar), eliminating the need for generators.
In addition, the new system drastically reduces vehicle weight and build costs and makes it possible for vans to access more remote communities.
“We want to be there for Aussies doing it tough no matter where they live. If we’re able to expand and help more people at the same time as easing the strain on the environment, then I think that’s a wonderful thing,” Nic said.
Orange Sky’s mission to support people in need and protect the environment places the organisation in a pivotal position to advocate for Australia’s First People, a commitment which inspired the creation of the very special ‘Waru’ dryers.
Launched on World Homeless Day earlier this month, these dryers are adorned with artwork from indigenous Australian artist Rhoda Tjitayi depicting “The Piltarti Tjukurpa” – an important cultural site in the Western APY Lands near Nyapori Community.
The team at Richard Jay is excited to continue supporting Orange Sky laundry as they work to improve the quality of life for homeless Australians across the nation, particularly those living amidst the country’s harshest climate conditions.