June 22, 2009

How a Business can get an 18% return by Installing a Hand Dryer

My wife is impressed with the hand dryer that they have installed in the restrooms in a local store. It might be hard to see why anyone would be impressed by a hand dryer. My wife likes it because it actually works as opposed to the old hand dryers which don't really get your hands dry unless you stand there and rub your hands for half a minute. The handdryer in question is the Dyson Airblade. The Airblade blows your hands dry in a few seconds and it really gets them dry. This hand dryer blows uses very high pressure air to blow the water off your hands rather than the traditional hot air heater style of hand dryer.

In addition to being effective at drying your hands its also effective at saving money. This analysis of the savings of a Dyson Airblade shows that over a year a business can save about $710 per dryer. The machines cost $1200 - $1400. So they should pay for themselves in around 2 years give or take.

Say you spent $1500 to get one and have it installed. Your initial cost is $1500. Assume you save $710 in paper towel costs over a year. 5 years later you would have saved a total of $3,550. If you had taken $1500 and put it in the bank you would need to make 18% annually to equal $3,550. So installing a Dyson Airblade at a business is like investing $1500 at 18% annually.

Now it should be said that installing a hand dryer is not going to be worth the cost unless you get a certain amount of use. The savings analysis cited assumes that you have 100 uses per day and many restrooms do not get that much use. It would certainly not be cost effective to install such a device in a family home.

Now I know most people don't own businesses that have restrooms getting 100 uses a day. But you likely have opportunities your own own home where you could spend a bit of up front cash to get a good annual savings. Buying and installing Compact Fourescent Lamps (CFL) or simply buying a reusable grocery bag are a couple examples.


  1. I'm guessing the calc includes for staff attention to and cleanup of the paper towels? In many stores that can add up (and be a hassle). Nothing worse than going into a washroom with paper towels all over the floor, or worse, having run out.

    Lots of the architects I consult for are spec'ing this hand dryer and having used it myself it is definitely great, and also one of the few that people come out of the washroom talking about!

  2. Guinness416,

    Hi, thanks for the comment.

    I'm not sure if the savings calculation includes all the costs related to paper towels. THe figures are straight from Dyson. They do say in their fine print that they base the calculation on the paper towels costing 1 cent each and assuming people use 2 towels.

    The cost savings comes from Dyson who is trying to sell you their airblower. So the savings might be a best case scenario. I don't really now how much paper towels cost in bulk so I'm not sure if 1 cent is a typical cost.



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