Office Water Coolers

Learn about what type of water coolers are more environmentally friendly.

How do I know what type of water cooler to get for my office?

There are many things to consider when purchasing a water cooler or water dispenser for your office space. Some of the decisions include temperature options and bottled versus bottleless. The Office of Sustainability wants to make sure you are informed to decide what best fits your office’s needs, while still being environmentally friendly.

Regardless of the decisions you make, you should try to purchase an Energy Star rated water cooler because they use 30% less energy than conventional water coolers! You can check out Energy Star rated water coolers here. If the reduction in energy is not enough of an incentive – you can earn additional points towards your Pitt Green Office application if your office has an Energy Star rated water cooler.

Should I get a bottled or bottleless water cooler?

The most common type of water cooler is the type with the 5-gallon upside down jug on top, but there are bottleless, also known as point of use, water cooler options that your office should consider. To help you decide below are some facts about plastic waste and transportation emissions related to bottled and bottleless water coolers.

Bottled water coolers

  • Use plastic jugs to provide your water
  • Water is pre-filtered
  • These plastic jugs will end up in a landfill where they will take up to 1,000 years to decompose
  • Delivery service to receive the 5-gallon water jugs
  • Transportation of water jugs releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere

Bottleless water coolers

  • Do not use plastic jugs
  • Reduce waste sent to landfill
  • Hook up to an existing water line
  • Filter the water coming from the water line
  • No delivery service necessary
  • Reduction in transportation emissions

Furthermore, bottled water coolers typically end up costing more over their lifespan due to the constant need to purchase water jugs, while bottleless water coolers quickly pay for themselves. Therefore, if your office has the ability to tap into the water line, we recommend opting for the bottleless water cooler option to save money, reduce plastic waste sent to landfill and reduce transportation emissions.

What temperature water cooler do I need?

There are typically three different options for temperature ranges when purchasing a water cooler: Hot/Cold, Hot/Room Temperature/Cold, Room Temperature/Cold. First off, you need to decide if your office needs to have a hot water feature or not. Is there an alternative for obtaining hot water? Do you already have a coffee pot that can heat water? If not, and you decide you need the hot water feature, just know the following facts:

  • Water coolers with both hot and cold water use much more energy because they must maintain water tanks at two temperatures in a small space. Learn more here.
  • According to Oasis, a water cooler manufacturer, it takes 57 kWh to produce 1L of hot water versus only 13.6 kWh to produce 1L of cold water. Learn more here.
  • According to Oasis, a water cooler manufacturer, the standby power consumption of a Room Temperature/Cold water cooler is only 160 Wh per day while it is 726 Wh per day for a Hot/Cold water cooler. Learn more here.

Therefore, even if you are not using the hot feature of your water cooler, it is still using more energy than if you did not have the feature. We recommend opting for the Room Temperature/Cold water cooler option if you do not think you need a hot water feature, or you have an alternative way to obtain hot water.