In 2008 Melbourne Airport commenced work on a $330m expansion, which is set to increase terminal size by 25,000m². Alongside this, the Melbourne Airport Environment Strategy will focus on resource efficiency with a target of reducing energy usage per square metre of APAM controlled terminal area by 25% by 2013.

As part of this environmental strategy Melbourne Airport began to look at alternative washroom electric hand drying solutions that would overcome complaints they had received about sub-standard washroom conditions and also reduce their carbon footprint.

Melbourne Airport Facilities Manager, Joe Cremona, came across the Dyson Airblade electric hand dryer whilst visiting the 2008 DesignEx trade event, where he was pleased with the benefits the product offered over conventional warm-air hand dryers and paper towels.

"I was initially impressed with the 10 second drying time, and the fact that it really did dry hands; my observations have been that where paper towels are not available, most people walk out of bathrooms shaking the water from their hands or wiping them on clothes," says Cremona.

"After the demonstration the environmental benefits were obvious when comparing the unit to paper towels and to other hand dryers that use a heating element over extended periods of time," he adds.

Cremona arranged for a Dyson Airblade electric hand dryer to be installed for Melbourne Airport staff to trial. Following this trial period, 70 units were purchased for installation into terminal washrooms and Cremona has heard nothing but praise for their efficiency.

"We've actually seen visitors departing bathrooms and redirecting their travelling companions inside to try out the new electric hand dryers," says Cremona.

Melbourne Airport has just purchased an additional 20 Dyson Airblade electric hand dryers to continue to fitout existing terminal washrooms.