A blast of fresh idea

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At a semi-indy movie theater chain I frequent, they use old-mode hand dryers in the bathrooms (well, in the men's room, at least), the ones that are ineffective but noisy. Signs on them attempt to blunt what must be a common plaint: "We don't like them either, but they're the best devices for the environment." Or something like that. I haven't done any of the math, but I'm willing to accept that the chain owners have — more willing, anyway, than if it was Sony or AMC or one of the other moo-vie conglomerates. I don't have a good reason for thinking that what they show on their screens should influence my opinion of their business veracity. But it does. The problem with the environmental argument is that the devices just don't work!

For years, I have rubbed my hands under those things like some OCD king, and now I would rather walk out with wet fingers than wade through all that noise and wait until my hands reach mere dampness. To me, resource efficiency is a persuasive argument only when utility is part of the equation — that is, that the less resource-intense method actually frickin' works.

Now, James Dyson, who brought high-end aerodynamics to the vacuum cleaner, has applied the same sort of science to the Airblade, a different take on the hand blower. It relies on shape and air velocity to shed the water without heating the air, which removes a power drain from the process. The device is touted as more hygienic and using 80 percent less energy than its typical counterpart. I ran across one in mid-May, right after its PR agency raised my awareness by pitching me on it because I was attending AIA, and found that it works a lot better than the other type. I still haven't done the math, but even if it's only as energy-friendly, I'm a proponent.


Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
make investments in employee wellbeing that pay off in corporate success.
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