At Fairmont Chicago
Paper Towels Are Checking Out
For more than 130 years, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has cultivated a connection to the land that has grown to include 124 hotel properties on six continents with another 20 in development. Also in development is Fairmont’s commitment to reducing the hospitality industry’s environmental impact. Nowhere is this more evident than at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. Located just steps from Millennium and Grant Parks, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan, the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park recently underwent a dramatic, five-year $60-million transformation – with an emphasis on using the latest and most innovative sustainable solutions.
Embracing the fact that there was more to environmental responsibility than simply recycling, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts launched its Green Partnership program, which focuses on improvements in the areas of energy and water conservation, waste management, and innovative community outreach programs involving local groups and partnerships. The program has since grown to support sustainability teams at each hotel location. “As a hotel, Fairmont Chicago is way ahead of the curve and industry norms with dedication to the environment,” said Colleen Sweitzer, Marketing Manager and member of the Sustainability Team at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park.
“The sensor-activated technology provides our guests with a touch-free experience which reduces the spread of germs and prevents messes of overflowing trash bins that breed bacteria. There is nothing that looks less tidy than an overflowing waste basket of paper towels. We don’t have that.”
Marketing Manager and Sustainability Team Member of Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park
The city of Chicago – which is known for its environmental support – has more than 359 vegetated roofs accounting for over five million square feet of green roof coverage, making it not only environmentally-friendly but aesthetically pleasing as well. With those two criteria in mind, Fairmont Chicago began looking into
innovative designs they could implement in the hotel to achieve their goal of one day becoming carbon neutral. Excel Dryer, manufacturer of the original, patented, high-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOR and new XLERATOReco® hand dryers, is helping the Fairmont Chicago get closer to that goal.
XLERATOR dries hands three times faster (completely in 10 seconds)* and uses 80 percent less energy than conventional hand dryers. XLERATOR represents a 95 percent cost savings when compared to paper towels, reduces the need for labor and maintenance and eliminates their waste while improving restroom hygiene.
“It was really very simple. Our sustainability team leaders read an article in 2007 or 2008 about the environmental and cost savings XLERATOR hand dryers provide and reached out to Excel Dryer immediately. The high-speed, energyefficient XLERATOR hand dryers not only aligned with our sustainability goals, but also offer a significant cost savings compared to paper towels,” said Sweitzer.
DOLLARS AND ‘SENSE’
According to Sweitzer, the biggest impact the XLERATOR had on Fairmont Chicago was its return on investment. She added that the cost savings dictated their decision to outfit their restrooms with the hand dryers. “It’s a dollars and ‘sense’ thing,” she said. “The return on investment was so impressive. Plus XLERATOR hand dryers help us to significantly reduce our carbon footprint. We are trying to do the right thing here, and our guests are too. It was an easy decision to make and we have even noticed that guests are starting to seek out hotels that are environmentally-friendly.”
BLOWING AWAY HOTEL GUESTS
The XLERATOR hand dryer is more than just a sustainable solution. It offers visitors a more hygienic way to dry hands. “The sensor-activated technology provides our guests with a touch-free experience which reduces the spread of germs and prevents messes of overflowing trash bins that breed bacteria,” said Sweitzer. “There is nothing that looks less tidy than an overflowing waste basket of paper towels. We don’t have that.”
XLERATOR hand dryers not only significantly reduce waste, but also the labor and maintenance associated with paper towels. The Fairmont Chicago has been able to reduce the amount of attendants needed to maintain restrooms to the luxury hotel standard, without sacrificing a luxury experience. “XLERATOR highspeed, energy-efficient hand dryers are the new industry standard,” said William Gagnon, Vice President of Marketing at Excel Dryer. “We share a goal with our customers in the hospitality industry to improve the user experience, which is why XLERATOR hand dryers are the top-performing and most reliable hand dryers the industry has to offer.”
XLERATOR has been a reliable staple of the hotel’s restrooms for the last five years. “I have never seen one with an ‘out of order’ sign, although we did have one that required replacement a few years back. But Excel Dryer was great about working with us on that,” said Sweitzer. “We receive no complaints from our guests. They work.” She added that the sleek and attractive look of the hand dryers – in stainless steel – adds to the aesthetics of the hotel. “XLERATOR goes with the look and style of our luxury design. It flows; it’s natural. It doesn’t appear to be just thrown on the wall.”
Although Fairmont Chicago still has the option of paper towels in their bathrooms, they use messaging on both the XLERATOR hand dryers and paper towel dispensers to alert guests about the eco-friendly, hygienic alternative to paper towels. “People are inherently curious about the message we have on our XLERATOR. We’ve noticed that if we can get them over to read the messaging on the hand dryer, they will use it while reading. It sounds basic, yet it’s effective.”
“It’s a dollars and ‘sense’ thing. The return on investment was so impressive. Plus XLERATOR hand dryers help us to significantly reduce our carbon footprint. We are trying to do the right thing here, and our guests are too. It was an easy decision to make and we have even noticed that guests are starting to seek out hotels that are environmentally-friendly.”
THE ‘GREEN’ SEAL OF APPROVAL
The Fairmont Chicago has received Green Seal Silver Certification for its efforts to reduce impact on the environment by adopting sustainable technology such as XLERATOR high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers. To address the waste management issue, Fairmont Chicago identified a number of eco-friendly opportunities to reduce and divert waste that also contributed to the certification. The hotel installed a microorganism digester to minimize food waste disposal, integrated a non-toxic pest-management program to eliminate toxic chemicals including phosphates and chlorine, and implemented a purchase program including Energy Star, post-consumer waste content and recycled or reusable packaging.
“Sustainability is more than just a trend,” said Gagnon. “As all facilities are looking for green and cost-saving initiatives, the installation of XLERATOR hand dryers accomplishes both.” Excel Dryer continues to innovate new technology for a growing demand including the new XLERATOReco high-speed, energy efficient hand dryer.
XLERATOReco uses new “no heat” technology to dry hands in 12 seconds* using only 500 watts, making it the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly hand dryer on the planet. XLERATOReco sets another new industry standard in green innovation and sustainability. Drawing four and a half amps or less, multiple XLERATOReco units can be installed on one circuit, which significantly reduces installation time and costs. Additionally, XLERATOReco significantly reduces a facility’s carbon footprint up to 70% (even versus 100% recycled paper towels), helping facilities qualify for several LEED® v4 Credits and Green Globes to achieve corporate or government sustainability goals.
XLERATOR and XLERATOReco are also available with several options and the industry’s most complete line of accessories including an adjustable speed and sound control for sound-sensitive areas, a HEPA Filtration System, an ADAcompliant Recess Kit, the XChanger® Combo Kit – an ADA-compliant paper towel dispenser retrofit kit, MICROBAN® anti-microbial Wall Guards, and custom digital image covers adopted by several companies and organizations including the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools Green Apple program, the New England Patriots, Dunkin’ Donuts, Coca-Cola and many more.
“XLERATOR goes with the look and style of our luxury design. It flows; it’s natural. It doesn’t appear to be just thrown on the wall.”