Air hand dryers more sustainable, helps plumbing more than paper towels

Chelsey Fisher

Hand dryers are more sustainable at the university compared to paper towels, David Robertson, director of Student Programs and LEED accredited professional said.

Robertson said that air hand dryers could contribute to green house gas emissions when its source of energy is coal. However, for Appalachian the power comes from a nuclear power plan near Lake Norman.

This greatly reduces the emissions associated with air hand dryers, Robertson said.

The production of paper towels is “nasty” because it uses a lot of different chemicals, Robertson said.

This makes air hand dryers the better choice for sustainability.

Robertson has taken this into consideration when planning the new edition to Plemmons Student Union by installing Dyson Air Blade hand dryers.

Robertson said they are “the most efficient hand dryers around.” It is also the most sanitary, he said.

Director of University Housing Tom Kane said that all residence halls on campus with the exception of East Residence Hall and suite style dorms use air hand dryers.

However, University Housing utilizes hand dryers to protect plumbing, Kane said.

While efficiency is a key part of the decision of which hand dryers to use “in the past, students would flush paper towels down the toilet,” and that would create sewage problems, Kane said.

Both Robertson and Kane said that noise is an issue with air hand dryers.

However, sophomore child development Morgan Shuler said that the draw back of using air hand dryers is not the noise but the speed.

Shuler said she would still use an air hand dryer “depending on how much time I had.”

Sophomore physics major Joseph Cinnartz said, “Sacrificing luxury for sustainability, even if it’s that one small luxury is not a big deal.”

Story: STEPHANIE SANSOUCY, Senior News Reporter