NATIONAL REPORT—From an environmental benefit standpoint, there are few slam dunks like hand dryers. Used primarily in common areas like restrooms, hand dryers—when offered as the only hand drying option and not alongside paper towels—save trees, energy and money.
Not all hand dryers are the same; some are more efficient than others. The bottom line, however, is that they eliminate the need to cut down trees to make paper*, the cost of buying the paper, the labor and disposal costs related to waste disposal, and promote a more hygienic environment.
“Hand dryers have always been knows as a green product,” says Denis Gagnon, president and owner of Excel Dryer Inc., East Longmeadow, Mass. “Any high-traffic public restroom would benefit.”
Excel Dryer manufactures the XLerator brand of hand dryers. The product won an Editor’s Choice Award for Technology at 2005’s International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show in New York. The XLerator promises a 95 percent cost savings compared to paper towels and 80 percent energy savings. Because of its patented high-velocity air stream, it can dry hands in 10 to 15 seconds compared to other dryers that take 30 to 45 seconds.
Gagnon says hotels that offer hand dryers that take up to 45 seconds to dry hands often end up having to offer paper towels as well because guests do not want to stand there waiting so long. The high-velocity air stream produced at a temperature higher than standard hand dryers ensures fast drying time.
“It works so well that there is not the demand for paper,” he says.
The XLerator saves energy because it uses only 1,500 watts of energy compared to similar products that consume up to 2,300 watts. The lower wattage requirement combined with the shorter hand drying time result in the overall 80 percent energy savings.
Gagnon says the Xlerator requires a dedicated circuit but can run on a 15-Amp breaker. The dryers draw an average of 7 Amps per use, compared to the traditional 17 to 20 Amps. Excel also manufactures other hand dryer models besides the XLerator. Each incorporates automatic sensor controls to add to the overall energy savings.
Hotels representing Marriott International Inc., The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., Choice Hotels International Inc. and others currently use the XLerator, which is sold through distributors.
In addition to Excel Dryer, be sure to check out the following companies: World Dryer Corp., Berkeley, Ill.; American Dryer Inc., Livonia, Mich.; Saniflow Corp., Coral Gables, Fla.; and American Specialties Inc., Yonkers, N.Y.
*Seven thousand gallons of water, 360 gallons of oil, and 158 million BTUs of energy are required to produce one ton of paper. In addition, 86 pounds of pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.