We put up a clothes line. It's one of those simple things you can do to save the planet.
We've had rain almost every day since.
If one of us stayed at home, we could exploit the dry parts of the day. Unfortunately, we both have to leave the house for at least part of almost every day.
Natural methods rely on unpredictable forces. If we lived in a desert, we could dry clothes all the time, but we would have no water with which to wash them.
The trick to exploiting natural energy has always been control and storage. That's why fire was such a cool thing. Once we figured out how to burn things, we simply had to try burning as many different things as possible to see what we could get out of them.
Wood is solar energy that has been stored for a few years. Coal is solar energy that has been stored for a few million years. So is oil. Since the source material for petroleum is thought to contain some animal components as well, it could be said to contain the force of life itself.
Releasing this energy has drawbacks that are now well documented. In addition to the pollution that comes from burning any of these fuels, we can also romp through the reserves in far less time than it took to create them. Unlike a natural cycle, this one has no renewal phase.
If we tried to make petroleum out of the greasy remains of the living organisms that die every day, we would have to pour massive amounts of external energy into the process to speed it up. Energy is, in this instance, compressed time.
Running the environmentally contemptible electric dryer, I compress the work of half a day's sunshine into an hour. If the dryer worked better, it would take even less time. Like everything else in this house, it is just a tired, aging slacker.
A damp rug, recovering from an attack of cat pee, hangs over the clothes line, while the electric dryer hums and rumbles in the basement. This aging slacker has to put forth some of his own energy to get to work. It's still somewhat renewable.