School projects that specify electric warm-air dryers have been increasing steadily. Many facility managers say they save money using hand dryers. The service expenses to stock and maintain paper towels are estimated at more than $15 per case. Add to that the actual cost of paper towels and the total outlay represents a significant portion of the washroom maintenance budget.
Warm-air hand dryers offer the highest rate of return on investment. The average payback period is less than one year.
Washroom vandalism continues to plague most schools and universities. School officials are all too familiar with toilets and sinks that have been clogged with paper towels.Wastepaper receptacles pose a fire hazard as well. Warm-air hand dryers eliminate these vandalism opportunities. Cast-iron dryers are virtually indestructible. Some manufacturers offer 10-year warranties.
A wide range of models is available. A heavy-duty cast-iron dryer is the most vandal-resistant. These hand dryers generally are available with fixed or rotating nozzles, with either pushbutton or automatic operation. Automatic units activate when hands are placed under the nozzle and shut off when hands are removed. This conserves electricity. With no buttons to push, automatic hand dryers also can improve hand sanitation.
Another feature to consider is surface-mount or recessed style, which is especially useful where space is limited.
Accessibility requirements are another important consideration in outfitting washrooms or locker rooms.
Warm-air hand dryer manufacturers meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act with models that extend less than four inches from the wall. On pushbutton dryers, activation requirements do not exceed five pounds of force, which also complies with the ADA.
When planning washroom design, warm-air hand dryer manufacturers recommend one dryer per two washbasins in a washroom with average traffic. In a heavy-traffic washroom, one dryer per washbasin is recommended. The dryers should be placed at least two feet apart, near but not over the washbasin. In congested areas, dryers should be placed to create a traffic flow from washbasin to dryers to exit. Manufacturers can supply the recommended mounting heights for men, women and children in varying age groups.
Kilbryde is vice president of marketing & business development, and Ring is vice president for sales & service, World Dryer Corporation, Berkeley, Ill.
Warm-air hand dryers, by eliminating the need for paper towels, reduce the accumulation of waste. The figures below give an example of a typical school washroom that averages 250 hand dryings per day. Over the course of a 200-day school year, the average number of hand dryings totals 50,000, generating 125,000 used paper towels per year. The amount of waste accumulation from that one washroom alone is almost 1,000 pounds. That amount of paper consumes eight trees and 1½ cubic yards of landfill. When these figures are calculated over the total number of washrooms in schools and universities, the amounts are immense.
Number of hand dryings per year at a typical school washroom (250 per day).
Average number of paper towels used per dry per person.
Paper towels used in a typical school washroom per year.
Cases of paper towels used annually in typical school washroom.
Weight in pounds of paper towels used in one year in typical school washroom.