A helping hand

11 June 2014

James Clark, group commercial director of The Airdri Group, outlines the factors to consider when looking to create a sustainable washroom that is designed with the end user in mind

Washroom facilities in workplaces and public areas need to withstand the pressure of large volumes of visitors on a daily basis. When choosing suitable dryers for the washroom, organisations need to consider a range of environmental and financial factors, including accessibility and comfort for users. 

Environmentally friendly products 

Reduced energy and materials consumption are two areas where the greatest savings can be made in facilities management services, according to research from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Investing in effective, long-lasting energy efficient washroom equipment can help organisations consume less energy and use fewer materials and therefore avoid unnecessary waste. There is now a new generation of hand dryers that combine power and environmental sustainability and, at the same time, require very little maintenance. 

Dramatically improved motor technology means that companies no longer need to constantly invest in new machines or repairs. Energy efficiency is not the only environmental aspect to be considered when purchasing a hand dryer. Power consumption, life expectancy and noise all have an impact on the carbon footprint of a dryer and should all be considered when investing in new products. 

Nuisance noise

The World Health Organisation highlights that excessive noise can seriously harm our health, affecting concentration, disrupting recreation, inducing stress and causing cardiovascular harm.

Many children find noisy appliances frightening. This can be particularly acute for children with autistic spectrum disorders – an estimated 133,500 in the UK alone, according to the National Autistic Society. 

High performance hand dryers don’t have to be noisy. When choosing suitable equipment for the washroom, organisations should compare decibel levels and also review whether equipment has the Quiet Mark, an international mark of approval from the UK Noise Abatement Society. Airdri is committed to noise level reduction in the development of new hand dryer models, all of which are designed within the parameters of the Quiet Mark criteria. Indeed, we were the first in the hand dryer fast dry category to be awarded the Quiet Mark. 

Accessibility and aesthetics 

If space is limited, facilities can benefit from the installation of slim, wall mounted dryers that do not protrude far from the wall. Initially designed to meet the standards set out in the American Disability Act, our new ADA compliant dryer enables improved access for users.

Washroom systems must be tailored to suit their particular environment, which can vary enormously. Durable equipment is required in locations such as schools and hospitals where it will need to stand up to a significant amount of use. For a luxury hotel chain, style and comfort is key.  

Electrical waste

Investing in effective, long-lasting energy efficient washroom equipment can help organisations use less energy and fewer materials, and therefore avoid unnecessary waste. Hand dryers in washrooms are often disposed of in favour of new models when the motor technology becomes tired, but dramatic improvements in this area mean that companies no longer need to constantly invest in new machines or repairs. 

Avoiding electrical waste is also in line with stringent new EU targets set this year under the new waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Directive 2012/19/EU. New targets will require member states to collect 85% of electronic waste generated from 2019 onwards to encourage more rigid recycling of electrical and electronic equipment and overhaul how organisations handle waste electronic equipment.

Bespoke design 

One size does not fit all. Whether a robust, cast iron hand dryer is needed to sustain high usage, or a contemporary dryer is preferred to complement stylish washroom facilities, there is a dryer to fit every washroom environment.