In a quiet spot 30 miles outside the Chicago Loop sits Prairie State College. It's not a big school, but they wanted to make a big push for sustainability.
Then, at a nearby conference, coordinator Allessandra Cairo saw the Elkay ezH2O® bottle filling station. Her boss took one look, saw the potential and pounced.
"It's just a really easy way to say that we're trying to do something. Especially with limited funds and not being able to do a lot of large scale projects."
The first ezH2O station hit Prairie State in January 2013. Four more joined it by April.
They've caught on. The student government association has sponsored additional stations. Above each is a bamboo plaque calling out the positive impact. To spark further interest, Allessandra has launched a scavenger hunt, rewarding students who track down every station on campus. She says, "I can't believe the amount of positive feedback we've received ... you would think I gave everybody a raise."
In February 2015, Prairie State joined the pilot program for the latest models of ezH2O. These are even more popular. Allessandra is most impressed with the energy savings from the automatic cooler shut-off. The campus plumber likes dealing with only one kind of filter. Students love the energy-efficient LED light. Allessandra admits,
"You know I didn't even notice the light. And they're like, oh yeah, it makes a really big difference. Now we know that it's a bottle filler. When you're here at night, you can't tell." YOUNG GENERATION
"I can't believe the amount of positive feedback we've received ... you would think I gave everybody a raise."
Prairie State now has nine ezH2O stations. Since January 2013, they've dispensed the equivalent of over 118,000 bottles.
Allessandra is excited to use cloud technology for an instant tally of bottles saved. She wants to use the new video screen to promote other sustainability programs and events on campus. There's another big reason the future looks bright to her.
"Our distributor was just absolutely amazing to work with. They come back and say, ‘Hey, the last time we talked, you mentioned X, Y and Z. We've made those improvements. Are you willing to test it out?' That to me is really beneficial, having a company that really stands behind their product."