Hand Dryer Performance
Gets Better and Greener
 
If you ever want to see a whole bunch of people grateful for green technology,  just visit the men's room at Clemson during half-time, when 80,000 people are struggling to get back to their seat with a hot dog and a cold brewski before kick-off. That's where you appreciate how much better it is to be drying your hands with a high-speed hand dryer than tugging on a paper towel dispenser and throwing a soggy wad of paper onto an overflowing trash can. 
 
With a high speed dryer, the patrons win because they didn't miss any of the game; the school wins because they don't have to haul away a truckload of wet paper towels; and the environment wins because a modern high speed dryer is an energy-efficient bargain compared to conventional slow-speed hand dryers or paper towels.
 
And quietly, the technology just keeps getting better. With a traditional hand dryer it can take up to 25 seconds for someone to dry their hands – sorta – with the dryer unit pulling 12 amps for the duration of its use. That led companies like Michigan based American Dryer to examine new methods of enhancing product performance. Their Extreme Air models have the look of a traditional dryer, yet work in less than half the time – about 15 seconds, according to the spec sheet. But Mike Robert, the Marketing chief for American Dryer, reports that many people are content with a 10-12 second dry, and some are even satisfied at the 8 second mark. Their Extreme Air GXT uses 80 percent less energy than a traditional electric hand dryer and runs on 110 volt systems, which makes the system attractive to facility managers. 
 
When the first 1500-watt systems hit the market a few years ago, they quickly became the high-performance standard. But American Dryer kept their R&D department busy developing what has become their new EXT series. “That's a much more energy efficient version of the Extreme Air,” said Robert. “It uses almost three times less power than the original Extreme Air and other high-speed energy efficient hand dryers. We actually have the power consumption down to 540 watts, which compares very favorably to the average of 1,500 to 1,600 watts.” 
 
But there's a logistical advantage as well. Traditionally, hand dryers required an electrician for installation because the dryer needed a dedicated electrical line. The cost of that labor can be a barrier to entry if you're deciding between paper towels and hand dryers. “The new EXT series is the first high-speed hand dryer on the market that does not require that dedicated electrical line,” American Dryer's Robert can boast. “In fact, you can connect 3 EXTs to one electrical line. That adds up to a lot of labor savings in the installation to go along with the obvious environmental savings when you're using a third of the usual power requirement.” The new EXT models generate a bit less heat, and Robert says that it might take an extra couple seconds to dry your hands. “Which is not significant when you consider the energy savings,” he believes. “Some customers prefer a little less heat… schools, in particular, seem to prefer it.”
 
The new EXT model fits in the same housing as the original GXT. Either model takes advantage of newer technology that makes the dryer consume 43 percent less space than the next smallest competitor's model. That can add up in a hurry in a busy airport or stadium where multiple units might be desirable. The standard model housings are white ABS, white enamel finish steel, and satin-chrome finish steel. Custom colors are also available; all models are U.S. made.
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