Carmela Bass

The now-familiar jet-engine sound emanating from public restrooms all across America is arguably one of the best improvements in hand-drying technology. The 15-second dry time of an XLERATOR hand dryer is far superior to dryers of the past, and what started as a startlingly loud noise, is now just part of the background soundscape of public life, simply because it is everywhere—thanks to companies like C&L Supply.

The XLERATOR is the most well-known product offered by C&L Supply, which was established more than 30 years ago when it primarily dealt with wholesale plumbing supplies. Now, having established relationships with innumerable manufacturers, C&L is helping to create a touch-free restroom that lowers operating costs, conserves water, reduces waste, and saves energy.

Carmela Bass, C&L’s president, says many products are sought out by customers who may have seen them somewhere else and want to learn more about energy- and water-efficient systems.

The XLERATOR is as popular with building owners and designers as it is with lavatory visitors; it uses 80 percent less energy and dries hands three times faster than conventional dryers. It also is the first dryer to be Green Spec Listed, and qualifies for several LEED credits, including energy efficiency, material and resources, and even innovation in design with custom digital image covers designed with sustainable messages. “It turns into an educational green product,” says Bill Gagnon of Excel Dryer, who makes the product.

The economic case for the XLERATOR has been more than made as well; the dryer provides a 95 percent cost savings versus paper towels. “In almost every case, it is less than a one-year return on investment,” Gagnon says. And it has a less-than-one-percent failure rate and a decade of proven quality performance.

C&L supplies environmentally friendly products but also partners with facilities to enhance energy efficiency. C&L worked with Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to outfit more than 80 automatic faucets for various sections of the stadium. This included working with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to calculate the water savings potential of converting their manual faucets to automatic faucets. The water savings was calculated to be more than two million gallons a year. Through the program, Dodger Stadium earned $8,500 as an incentive amount for implementing these devices. “It’s gratifying knowing we can help a facility meet certain goals and, in some cases, earn incentives [and] rebates through programs available while meeting those goals,” Bass says.

The California State University tested the XLERATOR, Waterless No-Flush urinals, and T/C auto faucets in its Northridge Student Union with the help of Bass and her team. After years of trouble-free use, the university decided to use all three products in its new Student Recreation Center. C&L’s products, as well as photovoltaic panels, energy-efficient lighting, Solatubes, natural ventilation, and other eco-friendly products, all helped the recreation center achieve LEED certification. “The first introduction of our product line to CSU was 10 years ago, which makes us even more proud to have our product line part of this state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly facility,” Bass says.

Bass says her father used to quip that her company was “saving our natural resources one restroom at a time.” “It was somewhat of a funny expression then,” she says, “however, [it] holds true to what our company has evolved into today.”