The Water Fountain Evolves

photograph of drinking fountain for water bottles

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, James R. Hagerty reveals a growing trend in water fountain use:  people are carrying reusable water bottles, and instead of drinking from water fountains, they just want to refill their water bottles, but the basic drinking fountain that has been a steady seller for decades isn’t working well for these people.  The problem that arises from the traditional water fountain is the awkward angle they have to hold the bottle to refill it- which results in wet shoes or clothes from the splashing water.

Keeping this new water fountain user in mind, new types of fountains, designed to refill bottles have been introduced.  According to Hagerty, “water is more popular as Americans reduce consumption of high-calorie soft drinks.  Tap and bottled water accounted for around 30% of the typical American’s liquid intake last year, up from 16% two decades before.  Nearly half of that water came from taps, including drinking fountains”.  So, this new fountain, developed specifically for refilling bottles, couldn’t have been introduced at a better time than now.  Also, with more people choosing to reuse and recycle, this water fountain provides an environmentally friendly alternative to tossing another plastic water bottle in a landfill.

This new trend is sweeping across college campuses, so Muhlenberg College began buying Elkay fountains after students campaigned against what they saw as plastic-bottle waste.  David Rabold, capital projects manager at Muhlenberg, says “sales of bottle water on campus have fallen 90% since the EZH2O fountains were installed”.  If this trend is reaching hundreds of colleges and universities, then it won’t be long before it sweeps across corporate America.  Commercial real estate investors could take advantage of this trend by offering these new bottle-filling water fountains in new construction and renovations to attract a new breed of environmentally and health conscious workers.