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A Specifier’s Guide To Sustainable Water Filtration Systems

25 Oct 2019 by Billi


As consumers and the construction industry become increasingly environmentally aware, architects and designers are seeking solutions that contribute to healthy home and office environments without costing the earth. Balancing health and environmental concerns extends to water filtration systems, which play a vital role in ensuring user health and happiness, and are growing in popularity: according to reports by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 32% of Australian households use some form of drinking water filtration.i In part, the shift toward alternative sources of reliably clean, fresh-tasting water is precipitated by concerns surrounding the cost and environmental impact of bottled water. The Australian Museum estimates that the cost of tap water is 1 cent per litre, compared with the average $2.53 per litre cost of bottled water.ii In light of this, water filtration devices have become an economical and sustainable solution for workplaces wishing to provide their staff with clean, fresh water. The main performance criteria for water filtration products are that they provide clean, fresh drinking water and have robust environmental credentials. However, the sheer quantity and variety of water filtration products on the market makes choosing a solution a complex question. In this whitepaper, we streamline the specification process by setting forth the key considerations that must be taken into account to ensure selection of the most sustainable, appropriate water filtration system.


Energy Efficiency

According to The Telegraph Newspaper, water units that supply boiling, filtered hot water are far more efficient than kettles, requiring 0.40 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy to heat the same amount of water for which a kettle requires 0.42kWh to heat.iii This saving may seem marginal, but becomes significant when it is scaled up in offices and commercial spaces, where taps are subject to heavy use throughout the day. However, not all filtered water appliances are created equal. To keep water at the optimum temperature (either chilled or boiling), filtration devices store water in a thermally insulated tank beneath the sink unit. Proper insulation is crucial, with well-insulated tanks requiring less energy to keep water at the correct temperature. As such, it is critical to select a water filtration device whose tank is properly insulated. Water filtration devices generate waste heat energy in the process of chilling water. In most cases, this heat is simply emitted by the device and goes to waste. However, advanced filtration devices now use heat exchange technology to recapture waste heat energy and redirect it to the device’s water boiling system. Technology is also evolving in other ways. Generally speaking, new models from reputable brands incorporate innovative, highly efficient motors and standby modes that allow for heating and cooling functions to be paused when the filtration device is not in use.

 Compliance with Green Building Standards

As environmental consciousness continues to grow throughout the construction industry, the popularity of Green Building Design (GBD) is on the rise. GBD is a broad term that describes a sustainable approach to design with three key featuresiv: • Seeking to significantly reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment and its occupants through design, construction, and operational practices • Promotion of efficiency by streamlining construction and ongoing operational costs • Encouragement of effective resource use and the creation of healthier environments for living and working GBD has now become a major part of mainstream contemporary design, with many briefs across all sectors – including commercial and residential – striving toward meeting green building standards. Instant boiling and chilled filtered water systems can help meet GBD objectives not only by offering the energy savings outlined above, but also by helping reduce waste and encouraging effective resource use. Filtered water systems encourage occupants to prepare their own hot beverages where they may otherwise purchase coffee or tea in a disposal cup, and prompt them to drink tap water instead of purchasing bottled water. In evaluating whether instant boiling and chilled filtered water systems meet the other GBD criteria, specifiers must consider the environmental impact of the filtration device itself. Where possible, devices that contain recycled content and can be (wholly or partially) recycled following completion of their useful life should be specified. Water filtration devices should also be fabricated from durable, long-lasting materials that ensure an extended performance life. It is also recommended that specifiers choose models with standby and timer modes, as these can significantly reduce the operational costs and energy burdens of a water filtration device.

 Independent Certification

Though the movement toward sustainable design and GBD has had overwhelmingly positive results, it has also prompted some unintended side effects. As Professor Charles Hostovsky of Brock University writes, the sustainability movement in design has led to a boom in greenwashing, or the tendency for manufacturers to inflate the environmental performance of their product.v Many products are now marketed using the terms “sustainable” or “ecofriendly”, without any information to verify or back up these claims. In light of this, designers and specifiers must be critical of environmental credentials claimed by the manufacturers themselves, and instead look for certification by independent, established third parties. The most reputable independent certifications relevant to water filtration devices are: • Global GreenTag, a stringent ecolabelling scheme that is recognised in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and 70 other countries. • WaterMark, a mandatory certification scheme administered by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) that ensures fitness for purpose in Australian plumbing and drainage installations. • WRAS, or certification in accordance with the UK Water Regulations Advisory Scheme. Certification is only granted to products that are deemed suitable for use with drinking water sources.

 The Billi X Series

 Designed to meet the water filtration needs of the dynamic contemporary office, the BilliX Series dispenser range proves that performance and efficiency need not come at the expense of style. Chic, sleek, and sophisticated, the streamlined range of dispensers is the ideal solution for any commercial space where amenity, health, and safety are key priorities. The XL Levered Dispenser is the conventional lever operated instant boiling and chilled filtered water dispenser. Water flow is controlled by two position-sensitive levers, which can be specified in a range of finishes that includes chrome, matte black, matte white, and many more. The XL Levered Dispenser can also be specified in a large range of finishes, with coloured levers offering an alternative solution for visibility where LED indicators cannot be seen. Braille pads are also available for enhanced accessibility. The XT Touch Dispenser features a touch-sensitive top operating panel inset into a sleek, compact dispenser body.

New Zealand
Merquip Ltd is a privately owned, family run company based in Auckland, New Zealand providing the ultimate solution for all boiling, chilled, sparkling and filtered drinking water systems. Hydration Innovation is our thing, and our ranges cover boiling, chilled and sparkling taps, and drinking fountains, bubblers, and bottle fillers to suit your needs, whether for home, office, or commercial.With 20 years of experience, the Merquip team work closely with our suppliers to ensure a quality product is available for your specific drinking water requirements.Our ranges are sourced globally and include models for home, commercial, office, and hospitality. Amongst our models you will find the most compact; the most energy efficient; and the highest capacity in their class.Our extensive knowledge, passion and integrity mean you are provided with excellent service at all levels of our business: from your first phone call to our friendly staff, right through to our after-sales service, where we have available a Nationwide Network of trained Service Agents for your peace of mind. One of our brand is Billi. Billi is the industry leader in manufacturing and supplying high quality drinking water and washroom systems. The Billi brand is synonymous with Australian innovation and we provide products of uncompromising quality backed by a world class customer service experience.Billi’s commitment to excellence sets the brand apart from its competitors. From initial design through manufacturing, distribution and installation, every one of our water systems is created to last.With a substantial research and development department, Billi consistently strives to improve. Our latest water systems feature advanced ecotechnology and safety features that continue to lead the market.Billi recently achieved Gold International Greentag certification - the only brand of its kind to do so. International Greentag studies the holistic sustainability of a product, right from the ingredients in the components, to the efficiency of the product, through to the recyclability at the end of the product life. To achieve Gold is the ultimate proof of Billi's dedication to sustainability.Billi is unrivalled in Energy Efficiency with our world first Gold GreenTag accreditation for drinking water category.The Billi Quadra line is regarded as the finest most environmentally friendly product in its category. It is energy and water efficient, keeping your carbon footprint down to the very minimum.The Billi Quadra line is water-cooled and therefore does not require cupboard ventilation.  


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