Three years ago, Marinko Vaci was an environmental chemist in Halifax, Nova Scotia—not the mastermind behind a game-changing new approach to clean, affordable drinking water. But something was wrong. In the lab, he was testing soil contaminated by small plastic bottles and other materials. As he saw some of the local landfill sites, he noticed the large amount of plastic bottles and how they were wreaking havoc on the environment.
“I just thought, ‘There has to be a better way,’” Vaci says. Factor in the waste, inefficiency, and plain hassle of most corporate bottled-water coolers, and you find an opportunity. “We actually had one of those coolers in our office, and I remember being so frustrated,” he says. “I was always having to change the bottles, and one time we ran out of water and waited three days for delivery … It was ridiculous.”
Vaci has always been an ideas man. So in 2009, he founded Alpine Water Systems, Nova Scotia’s leading supplier of bottleless, filtered, in-wall hydration stations and water coolers that eliminate both those pesky containers and the repetitive visits from a bottled-water supplier. Now, with more than 100 systems in place throughout the province, the business is taking off.
Alpine Water Cooler
Adjustable, high-flow water dispenser
The company’s bread and butter, the Alpine Water Cooler features a sleek and modern design that eliminates unsightly bottles. But more than that, there’s no more heavy lifting. The water lines are filtered directly through the system—which also means that it never runs out.
“There’s a pricey premium for square footage in most offices,” Vaci says. “Without bottles, people can put their space to better use.” No more bottles also means no more need for deliveries and the environmentally harmful emissions that accompany them.
Where costs are concerned, the company has the edge, too. “We charge a lot less for our product,” Vaci says. “There’s a flat monthly rental fee regardless of the amount of water used.”
Additionally, the tank capacity can handle two litres at a time of ice-cold water and one litre of cool water, which is roughly 33 percent more than traditional coolers allow. The faucets are high-flow, so the water comes out at its fastest.
Sensor-operated water cooler
The Hydration Station takes the place of normal drinking fountains in schools and high-traffic areas. The beauty of Alpine Water’s ethos is that the company is based on three unflinching considerations for the environment, the expense, and the convenience of the systems. To minimize the impact on nature, Alpine doesn’t mess with bottled water. After the system is installed, that’s it. “We have no delivery footprint,” Vaci says. “All water is fresh and filtered into the user’s cup.”
With the Hydration Station, placing an empty container beneath the spout triggers a stream of cold, filtered water that hygienically cuts down on the spread of bacteria. The exterior is crafted out of antimicrobial material, so there’s no need to worry about mildew or mould, and the recessed design makes it perfect for installation in several capacities so that there won’t be wasted space.
Alpine Home Edition
Filtered, refillable water cooler
The most modest of Alpine Water’s offer-ings, the Home Edition is for homes or small businesses that don’t want or need to spend $27 a month to accommodate a large staff. “It’s popular in homes and condos,” Vaci says. “Not everyone has the space in their kitchen, and this is just so convenient.”
The Alpine Home Edition serves as refillable chamber, and like the others, it has its own charcoal-filtration system. “If it’s just a small family, they may not go through as much water in a month,” Vaci explains, pointing to the product’s usefulness for private use. “And it fits most water coolers.”
The system comes with a dial to indicate filter change and is easily refilled by pouring water into top chamber.