Would you rather install and maintain an electric hand dryer or a paper towel dispenser in a public washroom?
Public school students are familiar with public washrooms since every school has them. Does your school have paper towels or an electric hand dryer? Most public schools that I have been in have paper towel holders... why do you think that is?
Cost of Installation
A hand dryer cost considerably more to purchase and install than a paper towel dispenser. A typical hand dryer costs in the range of $600 plus installing electric hookup. A good paper towel dispenser costs around $100 and only requires a few screws to install.
Cost of Operation
The cost of operation can vary widely depending upon where the washroom is and how often it is used. A washroom in a big sports stadium, an airport or a large school will see a lot more visits than a small business.
Electricity to run a hand dryer is quite a bit cheaper than purchasing paper towels. In Nova Scotia in 2015, the electricity rate is 14.947 cents per kilowatt-hour. To find the annual cost of operation of a hand dryer, multiply the dry time of the hand dryer (in hours) by the rated wattage of the hand dryer (kW) by the average number of uses per day by the number of days in a year by the electricity price per kWh.
To find the cost of operating a paper towel dispenser, multiply the number of visits per day by the number of paper towels used per visit (about 2 probably) by the cost of each paper towel (about $0.01 on average).
Dyson has a really great website on how they calculate costs for their Dyson Airblade electric hand dryer and compare the costs to traditional hand dryers and paper towels.
Update: This question is now on the Would You Rather website!