Collegiate Charter School Of Lowell

Collegiate Charter School of Lowell
Pulls Cost Savings Out of ThinAir

Maintenance problems, unhygienic restroom environment, excessive waste

ThinAir Hand Dryers

Low maintenance costs, clean restrooms, carbon footprint reduction, ADA compliance



Sabis is a global education network serving more than 70,000 students across 20 countries and 5 continents. The Sabis system offers an integrated, comprehensive K-12 academic program that prepares students for college, promotes life-long learning and cultivates well-rounded, community-minded individuals.

Harris Associates, a full-service architectural firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has designed several Sabis schools in the United States — including the brand new Collegiate Charter School in Lowell, Massachusetts.


The 66,000-square-foot Collegiate Charter School, constructed in two phases, opened in September 2016. It currently holds 754 students from kindergarten through 7th grade and aims to accommodate grades 9-12 by September 2019. Eventually, the school will have a total of 1,200 students across all grades.

Hand dryers, and other green features including solar panels, were part of the plan from the beginning. “Sustainability and environmentally-sound design, throughout the industry, is the biggest trend that we see,” says John Harris, owner of Harris Associates and architect of the Collegiate Charter School. “Not only in the washroom, but throughout the design of the building.” The ThinAir Hand Dryer offers a 70% reduction in carbon footprint — even compared with 100% recycled paper towels. It is BuildingGreen Approved® and helps facilities qualify for LEED credits. In 2017, Excel Dryer became the first hand dryer manufacturer to publish third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) by UL Environment.

ThinAir Hand Dryer

“Sustainability and environmentally-sound design, throughout the industry, is the biggest trend that we see… Not only in the washroom, but throughout the design of the building.”

Owner, Harris Associates


“They did use the typical paper towels,” Harris says of the Sabis network’s previous policy. “And they found that it was really becoming quite a nightmare maintenance-wise, student health and cleanliness-wise. Students would jam paper towels down the toilets. They love to do that. And so they decided to make a change to go to electric hand dryers. As a result, maintenance costs have gone down. The cleanliness of their restrooms has gone way up.”

The ThinAir dries hands completely in 14 seconds* and represents a 95% cost savings when compared to paper towels, eliminating their labor, maintenance and waste

Another big plus for Harris also was ThinAir’s adjustable sound feature.

“Adjusting the sound on a hand dryer is absolutely key. It’s the biggest complaint that we get. Sometimes washrooms don’t have doors. So to have that control of sound is really important.”

“Hand dryers have worked very well for the Sabis schools,” says Harris. “Hygiene is becoming more and more of an important factor. In fact, we find that school facilities in general are moving much more rapidly toward hand dryers.”

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