Anyone who has ever set foot inside a school restroom will tell you: students can be quite messy. From paper towels strewn across the floor to water pooled on countertops, unsanitary conditions frequently present an issue in these high-traffic environments. Fortunately, high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers have been proven to provide the perfect touchless solution to deal with these issues.
Options Are Key
While there are currently many hand dryers on the market to choose from, only a select few consistently provide high-speed, energy-efficient operation. In fact, the original hand dryer that created this top-tier category is now part of an expanded and enhanced product line that has revolutionized the electric hand dryer industry. In addition to the flagship hand dryer, this product line includes three other touchless models: an extremely eco-friendly product that uses No Heat technology to dry hands fast using only 500 watts; a sleek, space-saving model designed to be fully ADA compliant when surface mounted; and a sink-mounted, elegant dryer that operates in conjunction with a no-touch soap dispenser and faucet.
While each of these dryers satisfies different consumer needs, they are all at the top of the class when it comes to cleanliness and sustainability. Let’s take a closer look to examine exactly why electric hand dryers, when compared to paper towels, are the superior option in these categories.
Clean Hands and Clean Restrooms
Handwashing is critical to public health, so it’s imperative for a school to have an efficient method of washing and drying. That begs the question: hand dryers or paper towels? Contrary to popular belief, there is no scientific evidence to conclusively determine that one method prevents the spread of germs more than the other. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that both air hand dryers and clean towels are effective ways to dry hands.
That having been said, consider this: In testing conducted by LMS Technologies, a HEPA filtration system—which comes standard on the sink-mounted dryer and can be easily retrofitted into the others—has been proven to remove 99.999% of viruses and 99.97% of potentially present bacteria at 0.3 microns from the airstream. It’s also the only HEPA filtration system on the market with a metal mesh washable pre-filter for reliable service and extended filter life.
In addition to keeping hands clean, the optimal hygiene solution for a school is one that doesn’t require frequent cleanup, allowing you to spend less time and money on maintenance. High-speed electric hand dryers can help to eliminate the mess that paper towels cause in a restroom. Used, wet and dirty towels will no longer be strewn across floors and surfaces, on sinks and in toilets.
Green Restrooms for Energy and Cost Savings
Whether in a school, a church or any other facility, paper towel waste can add up quickly. How quickly? A 2020 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report showed that paper towels were included in approximately 7.6 billion pounds of municipal solid waste in 2018.
It’s a common misconception that paper towels, especially those that are made from recycled fibers, are the most eco-friendly way to dry hands. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted by international research firm Quantis and peer-reviewed to ISO 14040 Standards found that, when compared to traditional electric hand dryers and even 100% recycled paper towels, the original hand dryer in the product line described reduces the carbon footprint of hand drying by 50%–75%. Installing this high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer in restrooms is a wise move toward meeting corporate sustainability goals, as it also helps facilities qualify for the most LEED v4 credits of any hand dryer on the market.
Looking at the details, it’s easy to see exactly how these hand dryers are more energy-efficient than the alternatives. The product line’s flagship dryer dries hands in eight seconds* on just 3.7 Wh per use, and the No Heat dryer draws a mere 1.7 Wh per use to dry hands in 10 seconds*. In addition, the sleek, ADA-compliant product dries hands in 14 seconds* on 3.7 Wh per use. What’s more, going green isn’t just about saving the environment; it can also help your school’s bottom line. There is a direct correlation between energy use and total energy cost: if a facility uses less energy, the business will not spend as much money on it.
Electric Hand Dryers Get Top Marks
The Collegiate Charter School in Lowell, Massachusetts, is part of the SABIS® global education network, which serves more than 70,000 students across 20 countries and five continents. The system offers an integrated, comprehensive K–12 academic program that cultivates well-rounded, community-minded individuals. The architects who designed the school knew that the restrooms had to follow suit with a clean and green learning environment.
“Sustainability and environmentally sound design, throughout the industry, is the biggest trend that we see,” said John Harris, owner of Harris Associates and architect of the CollegiatenCharter School. “Not only in the washroom, but throughout the design of the building.”
For that reason, Harris specified the ADA-compliant hand dryer for the new school. This hand dryer offers a 70% reduction in carbon footprint—compared with even 100% recycled paper towels. It is BuildingGreen Approved and helps facilities qualify for several LEED credits. The benefits were felt almost immediately.
“They did use the typical paper towels,” said Harris. “And they found that it was really becoming quite a nightmare maintenance-wise, cleanliness-wise and student health-wise. Students would jam paper towels down the toilets. They love to do that. And so the school decided to make a change to go to electric hand dryers. As a result, maintenance costs have gone down. The cleanliness of their restrooms has gone way up.”
When comparing the facts on hygiene, sustainability and cost, one thing is clear: high-speed, energy-efficient dryers are the obvious choice over paper towels—hands down.
*Dry time and energy use testing performed by SGS International on standard XLERATOR/XLERATOReco Hand Dryers with 0.8″ nozzle/standard Thin Air Hand Dryer to 0.25g or less of residual moisture, pursuant to the UL Environment Global Product Category Rules (PCR) for Hand Dryers.
This article is courtesy of Excel Dryer, which has been manufacturing the finest American-made hand dryers for over 50 years, www.exceldryer.com.