Six Boxes to Check When Choosing New Hand Dryers for Your School
Ideally, a remodeling or renovation project would be completed while school is out for the summer, but that is not always the case. Sometimes there is no way to avoid mixing book bags with hardhats—whether the project took longer than anticipated or an unexpected incident resulted in the need for immediate construction.
I recently came across an informative article in School and Planning Management that outlines several helpful suggestions to keep in mind should your school find itself in that situation. It was a good reminder that there is no substitute for a careful and detailed planning process when you are doing any remodel.
Restroom fixtures may seem like a minor consideration in the planning process compared to the complexity of a building remodel. However, selecting fixtures carefully can go a long way to help reduce future maintenance and energy costs. Improving the functionality and efficiency of something as simple as how students and faculty dry their hands can save schools up to 99 percent in operating costs as compared to paper towels.
If your restrooms are on the list for an upgrade, here are six things to take into consideration in choosing the right hand dryers for your school’s unique needs:
1. Facility requirements: The amount of traffic flow in a restroom is a key consideration. Are you installing hand dryers in a smaller elementary school or a large high school? Traffic is a big determinant when selecting the correct model for maximum lifetime use and the best drying experience.
2. Sound sensitivity: Some rapid-dry hand dryers offer speed controls that can minimize sound levels. Is a restroom near a school library or auditorium where noise needs to be kept to a minimum? Or are the hand dryers for a locker room near a gym where sound is of less concern?
3. ADA compliance: Consider how many users of a restroom may require ADA-compliant fixtures. Some of today’s hand dryers are surface-mounted ADA compliant, eliminating the need for costly recessed installation kits.
4. Hygiene: For the best sanitary conditions, research automatic, hands-free hand dryers made with germ-resistant antimicrobial technology. Some next generation hand dryers also incorporate HEPA filtration systems to help remove contaminants from the air while in operation.
5. Energy usage: Modern hand dryers use up to 88 percent less energy than traditional hand dryers while drying hands in just seconds. Selecting a hand dryer with on-off heating controls allows for the optimization of energy use. Additionally, some models can help a school meet LEED certification.
6. Durability: While there are many hand dryer cover options to choose from, cast aluminum is an excellent alternative to cast iron or steel because it’s vandal resistant and offers exceptional durability.
I agree with the author of the School and Planning Management article that book bags and hardhats don’t mix and it’s best to avoid construction during the school year if possible. The fact remains that the appearance of a school restroom is an important indicator of a school’s cleanliness and how students and faculty notice and respond to the environment, either positively or negatively. Often small changes made any time of the year can make a huge difference.
Is it time to take a closer look?