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Restrooms: Hand-Drying Options

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, restrooms and hand drying.

Due to concerns about hygiene and contagious diseases, more maintenance and engineering managers are rethinking their opinions about hand-drying options. The issue often leads to a debate about whether to use hand dryers or towels. The key to making this decision is matching the option managers feel fits best with their facility types, occupant habits and the requirements of their individual restroom facilities. Whichever option managers choose, the decision means keeping a few considerations in mind.

One of the most important criteria managers must consider is the impact of their choices on overall environmental goals. For example, some studies find high-speed hand dryers can cut the carbon footprint of restrooms by 70 percent, depending on the type of dryer. Managers can choose from types that include nozzle or hand-dip, where users insert their hands into the dryer.

Newer hand dryers also are 80-90 percent more energy efficient than their predecessors. Other considerations include drying time and noise levels. Many newer, high-speed dryers can cut hand-drying time in half, down to 10-15 seconds. Hand dryers may also cut maintenance requirements for restrooms because technicians do not have to clean up paper towels from the floor around waste receptacles.

But if occupants are more comfortable with towels, many manufacturers have taken care to secure green certifications for their products, such as with the Forest Stewardship Council or Sustainable Forest Initiative, which ensure sustainable forestry practice. Many manufacturers also use a high percentage of recycled paper in the towels.


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