Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Hand Drying Systems

Posted by Benjamin Canaguier
Type: 
Full LCA available on the web
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2009
Language: 
English
Code: 
Cleaning
Code: 
Office Equipment/Furniture
Code: 
Paper Products/Inks
Code: 
Personal Care Products
Product: 
Xlerator® Hand dryer
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Yes
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
Yes
Sponsor name(s): 
Excel Dryer, Inc.
Sponsor type: 
Company
Practitioner(s): 
Quantis
Practitioner(s): 
Mr. Jon Dettling
Practitioner(s): 
Dr. Manuele Margni
Practitioner(s) type: 
Consultant
Summary
Functional unit: 
to dry 260,000 pairs of hands
Goal and scope of the summary: 
he LCA method examines a broad range of environmental impacts at all stages of a product life cycle, including all material, energy, and pollutant inputs and outputs. The systems compared here include the Xlerator® high-efficiency electric hand dryer, a conventional electric hand dryer, and paper towels containing between 0% and 100% recycled content.

The results show that the Xlerator® hand dryer reduces the environmental impact of hand drying by 50% to 75%. In addition to reducing climate change impacts (carbon footprint), the Xlerator® also reduces the use of non-renewable energy, impacts on ecosystems and emissions that damage human health.
In comparison to paper towels, the combined environmental impact of producing the paper towels and associated materials far exceed the impact from the use of the Xlerator®. Although the use of recycled paper fibers in the towels may reduce the impacts of this system, even at 100% recycled content, the Xlerator® maintains a significant margin of benefit.
A wide variety of sensitivity tests and scenario evaluations demonstrate that the margin of benefit for the Xlerator® is quite substantial and not dependent on certain assumptions or conditions.

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