Drinking fountains can now offer an alternative to bottled water.

Haws Hydration Station

We’ve written before about the backlash of bottled water, its harm to the environment and to homeowners’ wallets. Millions of plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year. And a gallon of bottled water still costs more than a gallon of gas in most places.

But many have turned to systems that turn tap water into filtered water - such as point-of-use or whole-house water filtration. In the commercial or industrial area, people can now find filtered water at drinking fountains and water coolers.

Haws Corp. recently introduced its HydrationStation, which provides users with a touch-free, hygienic way to refill their glasses or refillable water bottles. The nozzle, drain and other key components are antimicrobially treated with silver, which naturally protects against the growth of mold and mildew.

The HydrationStation’s state-of-the-art, NSF-certified filtration system removes sediment, chlorine and odor. The surface-mounted unit filters 2,500 gallons before replacement of the filter cartridge is needed, and pumps out .5 gallons of water per minute, about twice the rate of standard drinking fountains.

Elkay WaterSentry Cooler

Elkay Commercial also offers a hands-free, water-filtering drinking fountain - the WaterSentry Cooler with a visual filter monitor. Introduced in 2007, this model is outfitted with an LED display on the user interface that indicates the filter is funtioning and when it needs to be replaced.

The WaterSentry system is designed to reduce unpleasant tastes and odors, as well as harmful impurities such as lead, cysts and sediment. It can filter up to 1,500 gallons before needing a filter change.

The HVRGRN water cooler from Halsey Taylor not only filters water (up to 1,500 gallons before a filter change), it uses nearly 50 percent less energy, consumes nearly 40 percent less water (low-flow bubbler) and uses less refrigerant than others on the market, the company says. There are no paints and coatings, eliminating VOC emissions from the manufacturing process. Manufactured in highly recyclable stainless steel, it is also a durable product.

Installations: Because these models provide a clean water source, they are ideal for installations at schools and universities. The HydrationStation already has been installed on the University of California-Berkeley campus as part of its “I h Tap Water” campaign, and Georgian College’s campus in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

The HVRGRN water cooler from Halsey Taylor

Halsey Taylor was recently selected to provide custom outdoor drinking fountains for New York City’s PlaNYC Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, which will increases the amount of open space in the city’s underserved neighborhoods. About 266 public schoolyards will be transformed into more than 200 acres of new parkland.

Elkay Commercial is providing environmentally friendly alternatives to bottled water in schools, hospitals, golf courses and other recreational facilities.

These models enable end-users to enjoy a crisp, clean drink at the drinking fountain for just pennies per gallon, while generating an opportunity for plumbing professionals to provide and install the best product for their customers’ needs.