There are many ways to provide water for your business. Which one is right for you?
You may have heard us weigh in on the importance of proper hydration in the workplace and how it can have a positive effect on productivity, mood and the ability to think clearly and creatively. (If not, you can more here).
But your search for a convenient and affordable source of clean, healthy and great-tasting water may come up dry. Where to start? What to consider? Which office water solution is right for me? The Web provides an abundance of confusing and often contradictory information on the benefits and drawbacks of various technologies.
It’s time to clear the waters
Here is a brief overview of the most common office water solutions on the market today and some of the things you should know about them. No solution is perfect, but some come closer than others. And unless you know what to look at, you can’t really make an informed decision.
Single-serve bottled water is convenient, but is the least desirable from an environmental perspective:
Fossil fuel consumption –The production of plastics used to manufacture the bottles and caps requires energy, chemicals and fossil fuel as a raw material.
Carbon footprint and emissions –Transportation of bottled water also adds a substantial carbon footprint because of the weight and distance travelled by shipping and delivery trucks which consume fuel and emit CO2 and other greenhouses gases into the atmosphere.
Water quality – Prolonged storage of bottled water in a warm environment or in direct sunlight can cause plastics and other substances to leach into the water. It can also promote the formation of algae and the proliferation of bacteria.
Plastic pollution – Perhaps the greatest drawback of bottled water is the disposal of the empty bottles that contribute to litter, landfill or make their way into the ocean where they wind up eventually in the vast gyres of plastic debris.
Water Coolers and Dispensers
Perhaps the most commonly used, and the most derided of all solutions is the old-fashioned water cooler. Those 18.9 liter jugs that always seem to be empty. Although in appearance a low-cost source of drinking water, they are in fact the source of many hidden costs and offer many disadvantages.
Convenience – Let’s face it. Nobody enjoys changing the office water bottle. They’re heavy and cumbersome. Spills are inevitable. Injury is always a risk. Our research shows that 30% of us would rather go thirsty or drink plain tap water than change the water bottle. So it comes to no surprise that it feels like some people always get stuck changing the empty bottle.
Water quality – multi-serve bottles offer the same issues with storage and contaminants as their single-serve equivalents. Plus there’s the added risk of bacteria and germs that accumulate through the human contact with the dispenser and delivery mechanism. Regular cleaning is essential but often overlooked.
Carbon footprint and fossil fuel consumption – Although landfill is less of an issue with large-format water bottles, they are still made of plastic. And must be transported from the bottling plant to your office making stop after stop, engine idling, along the way to your door. Greenhouse gases are vented into the atmosphere as delivery truck engines strain under the weight of tons upon tons of water.
Disruptions – Taking delivery of the water, supervising the dispenser maintenance, reconciling and processing multiple invoices combined with the frustration of running out of water, make water dispensers less desirable and add hidden labor costs to the price of the water. Up to 15 hours, and sometimes more, of company time can be gobbled up each year dealing with water delivery alone.
Under-counter reverse osmosis
Touted as a convenient replacement for water coolers and dispensers, reverse osmosis (or RO) solutions use a micro-membrane to filter out a whole range of contaminants and provide the convenience of a bottle less solution. They take ordinary tap water and remove the chlorine, fluoride, odors and more…
Demineralization – one of the biggest drawback of reverse osmosis is that the process also removes all the essential healthy minerals and salts contained in great-tasting water. Minerals like Calcium and Magnesium are essential to healthy hydration.
Altered flavor – The removal of minerals and salts in RO-treated water also means that the water loses its natural fresh flavor.
Acidification – The removal of Calcium and Magnesium may also affect the pH balance of the water in some models, making it more acidic than natural water. The pH of tap water ranges from 6-8 pH while reverse osmosis water is at 5-7 pH (the lower the number the higher the acidity). As point of comparison, Coffee has a pH of 4 and Soda has a pH of 2.5 which is why it’s bad for your teeth.
Wasted water and sustainability – The filtration process used in RO systems is highly wasteful. 60% to 85% of the total incoming water goes down the drain so you need to treat up to 6.6 gallons of water to get a single gallon of treated drinking water.
The cost of purchase, rental and upkeep – Expensive reverse osmosis units are costly to rent or acquire. Their filters need to be replaced frequently and are sensitive to clogging as they filter out chlorine, calcium and magnesium. There require several pre-filtration stages that require regular maintenance.
Water temperature – RO systems handle filtration only. So they provide tap-water temperature which is usually too warm in summer, and too cold in winter. You then need to boil the water for tea, coffee, oatmeal and more, and chill it by some means for drinking.
The Strauss WaterCare Solution
Okay, admittedly we’re biased, but when you look at it objectively, our WaterCare solution that includes the Strauss WaterBar provide a convenient and affordable source of pure great-tasting filtered water.
Convenience – no bottles to change, no dispensers to clean, no kettles to boil, no mess to clean up. It provides a continuous and unlimited supply of pure great-tasting filtered water at the touch of a button.
Chilled, hot, boiling and room temperature – Our WaterBar has four custom settings so your water is always exactly as you want it. Hot enough to make soup and oatmeal, and cool enough to be refreshing on a warm summer day, or at room temperature if that’s the way you like it.
Triple activated charcoal filtration – our unique charcoal filter maximizes that amount of water that comes in contact with the filter to efficiently remove all the chemicals, particles and odors. But it leaves in all the healthy minerals and salts for healthy hydration.
UV purification – the WaterBar is equipped with a UV lamp that kills 99.9% of bacteria, algae and germs, for pure water that’s second to none.
Easy maintenance – with regular use, the filter is replaced twice a year and the UV lamp once a year. But no need to place an order. Our concierge service takes have of everything and automatically ships supplies on a pre-set schedule. It’s set it and forget it!
Fixed monthly cost – you’re automatically billed a fixed monthly fee. Think of it as a subscription to our WaterCare service. No deliveries to supervise, invoices to reconcile, no inventory to take.
So, as you can see, Strauss WaterCare is a convenient, carefree and sustainable solution to office water hydration.
For more information and a head-to-head comparison of Strauss WaterCare versus other popular solutions, contact one of our Water Consultants by calling 1-855-542-6365.