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Laundry research leads to international design competition

Image: iStock Photography

A Loughborough Design School PhD student has organised an innovative home design competition following his research into how different cultures carry out daily household tasks.

Jak Spencer, who is part of the Sustainable Design Research Group within the School, has conducted a study into the cultural differences of the laundry process across Brazil, India and the UK. On analysis of the results Jak found huge differences in the sustainability of the washing process across the regions.

It was from the results that Jak came up with the idea of using the conclusions of his research to create an international competition open to designers and design students. The competition is being supported by Forum for the Future – a non-profit organisation that works towards developing a sustainable world – and gives entrants the opportunity to create a more sustainable laundry process using a design brief created from the research results.

The design brief, as well as the judging criteria and entry information can be found at the competition website

It will be judged by a panel of sustainable design experts, which include Dr Debra Lilley, a Design Lecturer at the University, as well as Professor Aguinaldo Dos Santos, Head of the Design and Sustainability Research Centre at the Federal University of Parana in Brazil.

Commenting on the research and the competition Jak said:

“British processes are far more automatic. They involve less manual input and so people don’t see how much water they waste if they only carry out a half wash. In Brazil they see how much water goes in and comes out of the machine and so they only use as much water as they need.

“Another huge energy saving aspect is that they use cold water to wash as opposed to using hot water in Britain as it is just the cultural norm.”

“The competition is a great way for international designers to think about designing for different contexts and how we can promote more sustainable household behaviours. We hope to generate a lot of insightful and innovative designs.”

The competition closes on Friday 14 June. The winner will have the opportunity to present their design idea to the Innovation Team at Forum for the Future as well as receiving a Nexus 7 tablet.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 13/95

About Forum for the Future
Forum for the Future is a sustainability non-profit that works globally with business, government and others to solve tricky challenges. We aim to transform the food, energy and finance systems to secure a more fulfilling life for us and future generations.
Discover our stories and what we’ve learned about building a sustainable world at, Facebook and Twitter.

About Loughborough University
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 11 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.


Hannah Bateson
Public Relations Office
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228658

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