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Baylor’s new water refill stations rack eco points

Baylor’s new water refill stations rack eco points
February 07
06:12 2013
New water bottle refill stations aim to reduce waste at Baylor. The stations have been used over 22,000 times, saving plastic bottles that would have been thrown away.  Monica Lake | Lariat Photographer

New water bottle refill stations aim to reduce waste at Baylor. The stations have been used over 22,000 times, saving plastic bottles that would have been thrown away.
Monica Lake | Lariat Photographer

By Paula Ann Solis
Guest Contributor

Baylor’s school colors are gold and green, and it takes the green part very seriously.

As part of one of Baylor’s efforts to become more ecologically friendly, two water bottle refill stations, called EZH20 are now on campus. One can be found in the Bill Daniel Student Center and the other is on the garden level of the Moody Memorial Library. The potential for additional installations in the future depends on the student demand on campus.

The EZH20 stations, manufactured by the Elkay plumbing company, have an added filtering system, which, according to the manufacturer’s webpage, removes particulate, chlorine, odor and lead.

Smith Getterman, the sustainability coordinator said that Elkay aspires to manufacture “environmentally-sustainable products designed to conserve the earth’s resources,” which coincides with the goals of Baylor.

After learning about the EZH20 stations at a conference two years ago, Getterman began working to bring them to Baylor.

“I waited to see if there would be any student interest,” said Getterman, who took his proposal to the Sustainability Student Advisory Board. “They thought it was a great idea.”

The Sustainability Student Advisory Board consists of students ranging from freshmen to doctoral candidates who share an interest in environmentally conscious behavior.

Getterman said he is pleased with the positive reception by Baylor students and faculty.

“These fountains are just another way to service the students and staff and God’s green earth,” Getterman said.

The EZH20 stations, Getterman said, can cost $1,100 to $1,200, not including the cost of installation.

Meredith Walkup, the coordinator of Student Organizations and Leader Development, works in close proximity to the second EZH20 station in the SUB. She said she believes they are well worth the price.

“I wish we had more of them on campus. I definitely think that we need to lessen our carbon footprint, and I think Baylor is doing great things to do its part to help the environment,” Walkup said.

Walkup said she estimates that she drinks a gallon a day using the EZH20 station, eliminating the waste of up to eight plastic bottles.

Every station comes with an LED screen, which counts how many plastic water bottles are voided by the use of the EZH20 station. The counter in the Moody Memorial Library reads 7,864 while the counter in the Student Union Building is 10 shy of 12,000. Those numbers increase with every passing hour.

Getterman hopes the evident benefits of EZH20 stations will mean more in the future for Baylor without the Office of Sustainability picking up the tab. Though the first two EZH20 stations on campus were paid for by the sustainability department’s budget, a new one has already been purchased by the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.

Acton, Calif., freshman Amy Hudson has been using the bottle refill station since the beginning of the school year in August.

Hudson said the rapid refill speed is very convenient. According to ELKAY’s website, the EZH20 bottle filling station is three times faster than a traditional drinking fountain. It fills at a rate of 1.1 to 1.5 gallons per minute.

After using the station, Hudson said, “Did you see how fast that was?”

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