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Wigmore Hall was built in 1901 and has an ornate Renaissance style interior that was designed specifically to create a striking atmosphere while still being ideal for intimate recitals of chamber music. (photo: Mitsubishi Jet Towel)
Wigmore Hall was built in 1901 and has an ornate Renaissance style interior that was designed specifically to create a striking atmosphere while still being ideal for intimate recitals of chamber music.
31.03.2016, 16:34

Concert-goers Enjoy the Sound of Silence

Author: Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.

When London’s renowned chamber music venue Wigmore Hall considered installing new hand dryers, an in-house acoustic engineer insisted on a full site assessment. Fortunately the Jet Towel hand dryers from Mitsubishi Electric have QuietMark Certification and passed with flying colours.

When London’s renowned chamber music venue Wigmore Hall considered installing new hand dryers, an in-house acoustic engineer insisted on a full site assessment. Fortunately the Jet Towel hand dryers from Mitsubishi Electric have QuietMark Certification and passed with flying colours.



Wigmore Hall was built in 1901 and has an ornate Renaissance style interior that was designed specifically to create a striking atmosphere while still being ideal for intimate recitals of chamber music. Edwardian architect Thomas Edward Collcutt achieved near-perfect acoustics, leading to the Hall quickly becoming celebrated across Europe. It has since hosted many of the great artistes of the 20th and 21st centuries and today puts on over 480 concerts and as many Learning events a year, many of which are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 or the internet to worldwide audiences.

Until recently the Wigmore Hall used paper towels in its washrooms, but these were expensive to buy and produced a lot of waste, given the number of visitors. Also just before concerts and during the interval the washrooms would be heavily used; therefore immediate servicing would be required because the towel dispensers would run low and the waste bins would fill up.

Services Director Claire Boyd decided to look for alternatives and soon identified the Mitsubishi Jet Towel as a potential option. This seemed to be fast enough to deal with the rush periods and quiet enough not to be heard beyond the washroom.

However, it is wise to carefully consider each decision when dealing with such an iconic building so Claire consulted her colleagues. Interestingly Wigmore Hall’s facilities management team was more than capable of installing the Jet Towels themselves and was keen on the idea.

Not surprisingly, the resident acoustic engineer was a little more wary and wanted to conduct some on-site research, so Mitsubishi was called in and an extensive demonstration was set up. With the Jet Towels running, noise measurements were taken all around the building, particularly in the auditorium. In fact Jet Towels are whisper quiet in operation, producing only 58dB and have won the prestigious QuietMark Certification from the Noise Abatement Society.

The demonstration proved that the dryers could not be heard beyond the washrooms, so would not disturb concert-goers, or even people in the bar and foyers, nor disturb the musicians as they prepared for their performances.

Other tests followed, notably checking how many users could comfortably dry their hands during concert intervals and still get back to their seats for the second half. Jet Towel typically dries hands in less than nine seconds. It achieves this because, unlike traditional units which dry hands by evaporating the water with heat, it blows it off using high speed jets of air.

An advantage of this method much appreciated by Wigmore Hall is that water from just-washed hands is directed straight into a drain tank at the bottom of the Jet Towel’s drying chamber. This is in contrast to other dryers that may form a puddle on the floor, wet the wall or evaporate the water and potentially distribute bacteria around the whole room.

The facilities managers have also been delighted at the energy performance of the Jet Towel, which uses only about one-tenth the power of a hot air dryer. While the energy saving per use is relatively low, this soon mounts up in high traffic installations such as public buildings and helps reduce the utility bills.

In the end Wigmore Hall’s own technical team installed Jet Towels in the public washrooms. At the suggestion of Mitsubishi they also fitted each with a full height backboard, which not only added an extra defence against noise propagation, but also hid the marks where the old paper towel dispensers were mounted.


About Mitsubishi Jet Towel

Mitsubishi Electric’s first Jet Towel was launched in 1993 and the version now available in Europe is in the eighth generation of its development. It has proved a winner with installers for its high tech elegance, with operators for its low running cost and reliability, and with users for its convenience, speed, hygiene and innovative design. The Jet Towel has high environmental credentials, avoiding the use of paper towels or rolled cloth and lowering power consumption and noise levels to a fraction of alternative hot air dryers.


Further Information

Website: www.jettowel.co.uk.

 

 

 

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Photograph: Matthew Maaskant. (photo: Matthew Maaskant)
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