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# Life Cycle Analysis of Hand-dryers

for NDSU
La Toya Kissoon
David Mushet
Xiana Santos
Introduction
Obj: Replacement of 100 folded-paper
towel dispensers with either motion-
sensing paper towel dispensers or warm
air hand dryers
Purpose: to determine which hand drying
method used at (NDSU) bathroom
facilities produces least impacts on the
environment.
Life Cycle Inventory
Inputs (material and resource) and
outputs (emission and product) from unit
processes in the life cycle of each hand
dryer type was identified and quantified.
Data was collected from both primary and
secondary sources.
Secondary data was collected from
existing databases associated with GaBi
software.
Life-cycle Stage Data type
Relative
Quality
Upstream (material extraction and
processing) Secondary Moderate
Dispenser manufacturing and shipping Secondary Moderate
Paper manufacturing and shipping Secondary Moderate
Use Primary Moderate
Final disposition of dispenser
Primary and
secondary Moderate
Final disposition of paper towels Primary Moderate
Data Type and Quality
Calculating the Number of
Uses / Dispenser
We used information on towel dispenser use at
NDSUs Stevens Hall to estimate uses / dispenser.
We obtained an estimate of the number of boxes
of towels used / year at Stevens Hall from Chad,
NDSU Maintenance Staff.
We observed use habits to estimate the number
of towels used during the hand drying process.
Finally, we tallied the total number of towel
dispensers in Stevens Hall.
Calculating the Number of
Uses / Dispenser (cont.)
5,333 uses/dispenser/year
(40 boxes/yr) (4000 towels/box)
(3 towels/use) (10 dispensers)
=
Thus, we estimated that the 100 dispensers at NDSU
would receive approximately 533,300 uses / year
Calculating Paper Usage
Folded Paper Towel Dispensers
(533,300 uses/yr) (6.63 g/use) =
3536 kg/yr
Motion-Sensing Towel Dispensers
(533,300 uses/yr) (3.51 g/use) =
1872 kg/yr
Warm-air Hand Driers
(533,300 uses/yr) (0 g/use) =
0 kg/yr
Calculating Power Usage
Folded Paper Towel Dispensers
0 MJ/yr
Motion-Sensing Towel Dispensers
(533,300 uses/yr) X (1 sec/use)
X (hr/3600 sec) X (1.2 kWh/hr) X
(3.6 MJ/kWh) = 640 MJ/yr
Warm-air Hand Driers
(533,300 uses/yr) X (55 sec/use)
X (hr/3600 sec) X (2.4 kWh/hr) X
(3.6 MJ/kWh) = 70,396 MJ/yr
GaBi 4 Inputs
Folded Paper Towel Dispensers
3536 kg/yr paper
0 MJ/yr power
Motion-Sensing Towel Dispensers
1872 kg/yr paper
640 MJ/yr power
Warm-air Hand Driers
0 kg/yr paper
70,396 MJ/yr power
FOLDED
TOWEL
MOTION
SENSING WARM-AIR
INPUTS
Production residues
in life cycle
Waste for recovery 576.37 305.14
Resources
Energy resources 4210.7 2302.3 8035.4
Material resources 149.69 79.245
Valuable substances
Energy carrier
Materials 1088.5 576.24
Total Input Flows 6025.2 3262.9 8035.4
Table 1 Material and resource inputs associated with folded-towel dispensers, motion
sensing dispenser, and warm-air hand dryers. All values are in kilograms (kg).
GaBi 4 Inputs
GaBi 4 Outputs
FOLDED
TOWEL
MOTION
SENSING WARM-AIR
Emissions to air
Heavy metals to air 0.0026253 0.0015942 0.022478
Inorganic emissions to air 1560.8 947.71 13356
Organic emissions to air 5.9352 3.16617 57.147
Particles to air 2.6308 1.407 1.5641
All values are in kilograms (kg).
GaBi Outputs
FOLDED
TOWEL
MOTION
SENSING
WARM-
AIR
Emissions to water
Analytical measures to
water 45.712 24.205 0.46942
Heavy metals to water 0.48309 0.29205 3.9916
Inorganic emissions to
water 58.806 33.04 209.85
Organic emissions to water 0.35138 0.1929 0.7563
Particles to water 10.99 5.8505 3.576
Solid wastes
Wastes to landfill 3536 1872 0
Total Output Flows 5221.7 2888.35 13634
All values are in kilograms (kg)
Interpretation of results
Environmental Impacts:
motion sensing dispensers < Folded-paper
towel dispensers < warm-air hand-dryers
Folded-paper towel dispensers - 6.63 g per usage (no
control over usage uneconomical dispensing
method)
Motion-sensing dispensers - 3.51 g per usage/little
energy usage (controls usage saves paper cuts
Warm Air Dryers significant environmental damage
very high inorganic emissions to air & water
Conclusions
Our LCA rated the motion-sensing towel
dispensers as having the smallest environmental
impact (Recommend its use due to smaller
environmental impact)
Greater efficiency of dispensing method
accounted for less environmental impact
Impacts associated with production, shipment
and paper-waste disposal of the two paper
dispensers could not compare with the energy
expenditure and emissions of the warm-air
dryers
References
American Dryer Corp. 2006. Protect the global
environment with American Hand Dryer. American
Dryer, Inc., Livonia MI.
http://www.americandryer.com/environment.html
IKP. 2006. GaBi 4 Software. University of Stuttgart,
Institute for Polymer Testing and Polymer Science,
Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany. www.gabi-
software.de
Acknowledgements