Low-energy hand dryers last a long time, create no waste and create very few emissions compared with laundering roller towels, or using disposable paper towels that require natural resources, manufacturing, transportation, storage and disposal. The eco hand dryer is estimated to create 95% fewer carbon emissions than paper towels, making it an eco-friendly, zero-waste choice. For more information on hand dryers versus paper towels click here
The majority of modern hand dryers either come without a heater element or have the option to turn the heater element off. There are also models like the G-force Eco hand dryer and Stealthforce PLUS hand dryer that come with an intelligent heating system where the heater element only kicks in when the room temperature drops below 25C.
The reason for this being that the speed of airflow in modern hand dryers is the main factor in drying the hands by scraping moisture off them. The speed of the motor also creates residual heat, so the airflow can seem warmer anyway. For washrooms that the hand dryer isn't in constant use, in the colder winter months, the option to have instant heat can be useful to add comfort and because it is low use the energy increase is negligible. Nonetheless, heater elements can more than double the energy use per dry so it is always better to minimise its use where possible to reduce costs and overall environmental impact.
There are still the older style traditional hand dryers available on the market. These rely on heat evaporation to dry the hands so take a while to do it. The heater element reliance gives them a rated power of around 2.5kW and with a dry time of around 40 seconds, the energy use is massive compared to modern hand dryers that can be around 0.5kW and dry the hand in under half the time like the Turboforce Junior PLUS hand dryer.
The reason they are still around is they are very quiet hand dryers so some buildings still request them. That said, modern hand dryers like the Dryflow Elite MK 2 hand dryer which not only has the Quiet Mark accreditation, making it one of the quietest hand dryers in its class, has a rated power 60% lower than a traditional hand dryer and dries the hands 58% faster. Therefore these lower energy hand dryers are certainly worth consideration over an energy-hungry model. There are many models like this now that are vandal-resistant and elegant looking stainless steel hand dryers, with the Elite MK2 being a popular chrome hand dryer.