Does your office space use a water cooler to quench the thirst of employees hard on the job or customers waiting to be served? While the expense may seem trivial, according to ENERGY STAR, traditional water coolers in home and businesses consume around 7 billion kWh/year. That’s a lot of energy, and a lot of extra cost.

In contrast, ENERGY STAR certified water coolers use approximately half that amount, leading to 45% savings over the non-certified alternative or more than $240 over the lifetime of the unit. Here’s everything you need to know about switching to an energy-efficient water cooler.

All about energy-efficient water coolers

Water coolers are freestanding devices that consume energy as they cool or heat water for human consumption. Water coolers can be bottled or bottle-less. Some bottle water coolers include a refrigerated compartment – these units are known as compartment-type water coolers.

There are three types of water coolers including: Cold Only Units, units that only dispense cold water; Hot and Cold Units, which, as the names implies, dispense both hot and cold water; and Cook and Cold Units, which dispense both cold water and water at room-temperature.

According to Natural Resources Canada, in order to be ENERGY STAR qualified, water coolers with a refrigeration cycle (Cold Only Units and Cook and Cold Units) are required to have a standby energy consumption of 0.16 kWh/day. Hot and Cold Units are required to have a standby energy consumption of maximum 1.20kWh/day.

Tips for purchasing an energy-efficient water cooler

Water coolers for small office use are available at a number of retail stores throughout Canada and the US as well as online. When shopping for energy-efficient water coolers, keep an eye out for the ENERGY STAR seal on the box or directly on the unit itself. If buying or leasing from a distributor, specify that you want an ENERGY STAR model.

When purchasing a water cooler for commercial use, clearly state a preference for ENEGRY STAR certified models in the request for bids and bottled water service.

A list of ENERGY STAR qualified models available to customers in the US and Canada is available here.

Questions or comments about purchasing an energy-efficient water cooler? Leave them below!

image credit: @Doug88888