Case Study: Hynes Convention Center

Out with the Old, in with the New: Hynes Convention Center in Boston installs high-speed hand dryers

Owned and operated by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston's historic Back Bay is one of the busiest midsized event and conference venues in the country. The Hynes Convention Center boasts 193,000 square feet of exhibit space in five separate halls, over 75,000 square feet of meeting space in 38 rooms, as well as a 25,000 square foot ballroom. Licensed to house up to 25,000 people at any given time, the Hynes enjoys a 60% occupancy average throughout the year. The Hynes hosts a variety of shows, conferences, exhibits, and other community and business events, and offers a variety of audiovisual, cleaning, security, and food and beverage services for patrons.

John Donahue, Building Superintendent, has worked with the MCCA for six years and is in the process of completing some much-needed upgrades for the Hynes Convention Center. Because of the large number of patrons that visit the Hynes throughout the year, he says, "We've seen a good deal of wear and tear on some parts of the establishment, particularly the fixtures in the bathrooms." The MCCA wanted to make the building as environmentally friendly as possible, which meant that many automated/low-flow units and hand dryers were installed in the Hynes restrooms starting in the late 1980s.

After a while, however, Donahue noticed that the hand dryers were no longer functioning properly. "The heating element would go and the air volume would diminish over time, so all you'd get was low-volume cold air." One day the deputy director of the MCCA used a high-speed, effective hand dryer called the XLERATOR® at a local restaurant and urged Donahue to find out whether they would work as a replacement for the older, push-button activated dryers in the Hynes. Donahue examined the XLERATOR and was impressed by how quickly and effectively it dries hands. The XLERATOR is designed with a high-velocity air stream that blows off excess water droplets and rapidly evaporates the remaining layer of moisture. According to an independent study, XLERATOR dries hands in 10 seconds, three times faster than traditional hand dryers, and uses 80% less energy. XLERATOR delivers a 95% cost savings when compared to paper towels, and eliminates their maintenance while improving hygiene in the restroom. The units are also GreenSpec® listed and help facilities qualify for LEED® credits awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Donahue discovered that the XLERATOR units would be relatively easy to retrofit into the restrooms as older dryers failed. "We began gradually phasing out the previous dryers as they broke down over time, starting in 2002" Donahue explains. "The XLERATOR was easier to install than the older models, which were recessed into the walls, leaving holes that had to be covered up." Donahue selected chrome cover XLERATOR dryers to match the décor, and is also considering the newer textured Graphite covers for planned retrofitting of their new state of the art Boston Convention & Exhibition Center facility in South Boston.

The Hynes Convention Center has 40 standard restrooms, with six or seven stalls each. 95% of the restrooms were equipped with the older dryers, and many retained paper towel dispensers as well. "Being rid of the towel dispensers is a definite plus," says Donahue. "There is no paper waste on the floor, and less material to clog toilets. We're not expending nearly as much labor cleaning the bathrooms."

At the time of this writing, only 20 of the older dryers remain, soon to be replaced with the XLERATOR exclusively. With the average Hynes-hosted show attendance over 5,000, Donahue is glad to have reliable, fast-working hand dryers for his patrons. "They've been a very dependable and reliable unit, considering how much use they get," Donahue says. "Additionally, in the more than two years since they were installed, none of the units have failed."