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NEW PRODUCTS Smart green choices

contaminants in groups” and clean up drinking water with better technology. That sounds like a move in the right direction but so far it’s just talk. Which brings us to water purifi cation.

Modern household fi lters can’t address root problems such as sewage overfl ow, lawn pesticide runoff , and motor boats in reservoirs, but they can remove many of the bad tastes, bad germs, and toxins such as lead and arsenic from drinking water.

Some fi ltration/purifi cation systems

do only one thing. Others remove multiple contaminants. Here’s a broad overview of what each type of fi lter does, from the Environmental Working Group (www.

> Charcoal (granulated activated carbon) fi lters are great for people who simply want to improve the taste and smell of their water but don’t need additional fi ltration or treatment.

> Carbon block filters force water through pores in a block of carbon, which removes a range of contaminants. These include particulates, VOCs, cysts, and heavy metals. Unlike some other fi lters, they do not remove helpful minerals from the water.

> Reverse osmosis fi lters work by pushing water through a very fi ne membrane, producing what amounts to distilled water. The downside to reverse osmosis technology is that it’s slow and it removes healthful minerals while not completely removing all VOCs. Some units make up for the latter by combining reverse osmosis with carbon fi ltration.

> Ion exchange units (water softeners) are used where water hardness is a problem. GB


At the IBS show in February, I came face to face with the temptation of bottled water and found a way to beat the system.

It’s ironic that Las Vegas, which wouldn’t exist without the original discovery of natural spring water, is now occupied by bottled water junkies. In my arid, over-conditioned hotel room off the strip, a $6 bottled water had been left with a welcome tag on my countertop. I wanted none of it. So I tried drinking some water straight from the tap. Gack. The stuff not only tasted like a swimming pool, it contained unidentified floaties. Then I noticed the commercial-style refrigerator in the room with a water dispenser. I pulled a glass. Not only did the water emerge free of particles, it was served chilled. The chlorine taste was gone. Curious about what had been filtered out. I looked up the Nevada Water Authority’s description of their water, and they note that it does indeed taste of chlorine, with cloudy or chalky residues from magnesium and calcium. Having lived in Florida, I always assumed that tap water in some parts of the country was simply undrinkable. But maybe it’s just a matter of taste—and filters, when compared to bottles, offer an affordable and green alternative.—M. Power

Whirlpool calculated the annual savings of water filtration versus bottled water for us. They found that “by using two replaceable filters per year, a refrigerator system can filter the equivalent of 3,000 bottles per year, saving the user more than $600 based on a leading bottled water brand.”

In Reverse This five-stage RO-45 Ultra Reverse

Osmosis System by Apec, has a 36–45 gallon/day output with a fast flow. It provides pure and safe filtered drinking water and promises easy installation and low maintenance for the home buyer. According to the manufacturer, using this system will save $400–$800 a year. All the components are FDA and NSF certified, and it is made in the United States.


Under the Counter The six-stage Under the Counter Reverse Osmosis

System by Excel Technologies provides safe, pure water using Reverse Osmosis Technology. It’s capable of removing over 90% of total dissolved solids, +99% of all organics, and +99% of all bacteria. The system generates 35 gallons of water per day and a flow rate of two gallons per minute. The final stage ultraviolet disinfection chamber ensures that any microbiological contamination which may have grown in the storage tank or water line will be eliminated. The system installs under the sink. Comes with faucet, storage tank, and installation hardware. All components are NSF listed and FDA approved.

52 GreenBuilder July > August 2010


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