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Xlerator hand dryer from Aladdin Onsite Cleaning Services

Think back to the last time you dried your hands with a hand dryer. Might have been at the movies or maybe the washroom block in your office building? Did you feel the need to wipe your hands on your pants to finish off the job that the dryer didn't? Malcolm Schewitz from Aladdin promises that after using the Xlerator, there should be no lingering desire to reach for paper.

The Xlerator is designed with a higher-than-conventional airflow rate, approximately 4270 linear metre's per minute, directed at the user's hands while still producing a high level of heat. The Xlerator was designed around the principle of 'more air, less heat'. That according to the makers of the Xlerator means "warm and dry hands in around 12 to 15 seconds" - approximately one-third the time of conventional electric hand dryers. The Xlerator hand dryer is also claimed to outperform its competitors for energy efficiency, drawing only 1500 watts rather than the 2200 watts required by most other units.

But what about the choice between paper towel dispensers and electric hand dryers? Which is eco-preferable? The manufacturer of Xlerator undertook a life cycle analysis (LCA) of its hand dryer and compared it to paper towel dispensers. The LCA concluded that the Xlerator uses approximately 80 percent less energy than paper towels. Another LCA study on paper towels versus hand dryers concluded that the use of paper towels results in double the global warming burden when compared to the use of the hand air dryer. In both of the LCA studies, however, changing assumptions such as the drying time, the electricity used, the number of towels used per dry, the transport steps and the disposal of paper wastes may affect the outcome.

Port Phillip Council, in Victoria, installed the dryers in its Port Melbourne Town Hall restrooms. Its cost benefit analysis, taking into account savings on paper towels and the anticipated electricity costs, concluded that the dryers would pay for themselves within 3.2 years. Zafi Bachar, the environment projects officer at the City of Port Phillip, says they have cut the daily waste stream estimated to total about 147 kilograms of bathroom paper towel waste per year and, importantly, reduced the number of paper towels they have to buy. If the building was powered by green power - either off-grid or purchased - the greenhouse gas emission associated with the operation of the dryer units could be offset.

Reaching up to 90 decibels when drying, the Xlerator is noticeably noisier than conventional dryers. Bachar adds that the high pitched 'vroooommmm!' sometimes surprises people when they first use the Xlerator, but that this has not been a concern as the restrooms don't back on to any quiet work areas. In his experience, Bachar has also found the drying time to be closer to 20 seconds. Although this shows that drying time may vary, the dryer still remains competitive for drying efficiency, streamlined design and energy efficiency.

Xlerator hand dryers will contribute to the reduction in operational energy use for a base building or tenancy fit out. Under the Green Star Office Design v.2 and Office Interiors v1.1 tools, however, the impact of this reduction in operational energy will have a negligible impact on the Ene-2 Energy Improvements credit, with things such as the lighting and mechanical / electrical systems having much more of an impact. Nevertheless, taking every opportunity to reduce a building's operational energy is the direction in which we should be heading.

If you remain unconvinced of the Xlerator experience, you can find a host of images people have posted of themselves on the net, on sites like Flickr, after their experience with it.

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