Hand dryers have been popular with industries for their apparent economies. According to manufacturers, hand dryers can cut costs by as much as 99.5% (for example a company may spend $2340.00 per year on paper towels, where as the hand dryer expenditure would be as low as $14.00 per year - this will vary according to the cost of paper towels and electricity). They require very little maintenance compared to paper towels, which must be replaced. An added benefit is the removal of the paper waste. Hand dryers represent a larger initial investment, so those responsible for facility management must do a careful cost analysis to determine whether they are cost effective in their building. Costs are always relative to the kWh cost that the facility is charged by its provider. In the UK, this will typically be around 10-12p, the only way to compare costs accurately is to work out the rated energy consumption and divide it by the number of drys the hand dryer is capable of performing back to back in 1 hour, this will give the energy consumption per dry. The world's lowest energy hand dryer uses just 1 watt-hour per dry and is rated at 0.24 kW.
Newer models of hand dryer are faster, quieter, and more efficient. Due to the reduction in litter and waste in comparison with paper towels, which cannot be recycled, hand dryers are also claimed to be better for the environment.[by whom?] Another study shows that whereas the majority of the environmental impact of a hand dryer occurs during its use, the environmental impact of paper towels is predominantly in the material production and manufacturing stages. It is estimated that hand dryers use 5% less energy than paper towels in the first year, and 20% less over five years. A World Dryer study of 102 hand dryers installed in public schools in Topeka, Kansas, claimed an annual savings of 34.5 tons of solid waste, 690,000 gallons of water,and 587 trees; another World Dryer study of 153 hand dryers in the Iowa state capitol showed an annual savings of 10.5 tons of solid waste and 176 trees. However, a Dutch study published in March 1995 indicated that there was environmental parity between hand dryers and paper towels as hand drying methods when all factors were taken into consideration.