Saving Energy- One Electric Hand Dryer At A Time
Walk in any business premises and visit their restroom. Most likely you will find an paper roll hung in a holder and an overflowing trash can. Even though the trend for using air dryer is on rise, somehow people look at it as some fancy instrument, overly complex, only for tree-huggers shedding tears for chopped trees. In reality an electric hand dryer is a very simple instrument consisting only of a switch, a coil and a fan. They need almost no maintenance and can have useful life of 7-.
In fact the electric hand dryer is a very smart choice purely from economy point of view. Don’t believe me? Here are some facts.
Let’s do a cost cost analysis for paper towel roll vs. electric hand dryer in rest rooms.
Costs for use of paper towels per person.
If you want to use paper towels in rest room, you need to begin with a holder. A simple paper towel dispenser costs about $30.00 and a fancy touchless dispenser runs around $45.00. This is your fixed cost. You have to incur these costs no matter how much is rest room usage.
One paper roll costs around $1.5-2.5. Let us say after paying all taxes etc. the cost of paper roll is $1.5. Typically these rolls consist of around 200 paper towels. So cost per towel is 0.75 cent. Assuming one person uses on an average 2 towels (which is rather on lower side), we have paper towel cost of 1.5 cents per person visiting the rest room.
Costfor use of electric dryer per person.
A simple electric hand dryer runs at around 75$, which is about $30 more at the beginning.
As shown in the table provided on the webpage linked above, an air dryer runs for about 30 secs and consumes 2 KW energy. So consuming 0.01667 KWH energy per person. @0.12 $/KWH, the cost of this runs at around 0.2 cents per visit. That is 1.3 cents less than using a paper towel. At this rate of saving, it would take (75-45)/0.013 = 2300 visits to rest room for payback.
So if your business has 1000 daily visitors, assuming 10% of them use resrtoom, you have 100 rest room visitors per day. At this rate, you would break even on 23rd day and after that what you have is pure profit.
This is ignoring the costs you have to incur to purchase paper rolls regularly , stack them up in closet, make sure the dispenser is filled with roll, make sure the trash cans are not overflowing, and then make sure the trash is regularly taken out. This involves significant time and efforts on somebody’s part. Also each paper roll fills about half bag in small 16 gal trashcan. So you will be definitely purchasing more trash bags if you keep using paper rolls. Don’t forget trash bags cost almost $0.10/bag in most cases.
Certainly life is just simpler with electric hand dryer.
This post on a website actually argues in favor of paper towels when it comes to being environment friendly. But it assumes that you are using coal based energy provided on standard energy mix in California grid. Also it does not account for significant costs involved in handling paper towel over its lifespan. That involves energy consumed in manufacturing, packaging, transporting, storing, collecting in trash, transporting trash and disposing in landfill. As I mentioned above, while we are discussing ecological impact of paper towel, we also need to consider that we need extra trash bags. So all the environmental costs associated with trash bags should be accounted as well.
The truth is paper towel is one of the things where the useful part of its life is far smaller chunk of its total life (unless large part of such towels is recycled, which is not the case today). Such things are rarely environmentally friendly. So even though, in restroom, electric hand dryer consumes more electric energy than paper towel roll, if you see the big picture, you are better off with electric hand dryer both financially and environmentally.
From purely environmental standpoint the most effective solution will be a cloth towel hanging in restroom. That might be feasible for residence use, but might not be practical for businesses. For businesses, the electric dryer is the best solution because it leaves one less thing to take care of, thus making life a bit simpler. If you want to know the importance of that statement, “One less thing to take care of”, ask any workshop manager or any mom who spend most of their time in juggling their tasks.