Better than bottled water?—Energy and climate change impacts of on-the-go drinking water stations

Tamar Makov, Grégoire Meylan, Jon T. Powell, Alon Shepon, Tamar Makova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growing consumption of single-use bottled water has received criticism due to potentially adverse environmental outcomes. Networks of public-sphere water delivery stations have been proposed as a sustainable alternative for water consumption on-the-go, yet the life-cycle impacts of such stations are poorly understood. Here we evaluate the potential cumulative energy demand and climate change impacts of water delivered from a filtered water refill station under various consumption scenarios and provide a comparison to published results for bottled water. Using a hybrid life-cycle analysis framework employing physical and economic data, we model the water station's performance in four locations: Tel-Aviv, Israel; Miami Beach, Florida, USA; London, UK; and Shanghai, China. We find that the climate change impact of the station is two to six times lower than those of bottled water and that use phase electricity is the most influential factor in determining the station's environmental impact. We provide additional observations related to scaling up such a system and recommendations to realize further gains in eco-efficiency.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date25 Nov 2016
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Bottled water
  • Climate change
  • Decentralized water systems
  • LCA
  • Water fountain
  • Water station

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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