Installation of Bottle Refill Stations and Fountain Retrofits 2012-2013

Project Lead: Trish Ratto, Brian Joseph

Sponsor: Health*Matters, University Health Services

TGIF Grant: $25,000

Project Theme: Water Conservation & Tap Water

Project Location

2012 Application Submission

Application Metrics

I Heart Tap Water Website

I Heart Tap Water Pledge

Status: Complete

Project Description: Funding will be used to install three bottle refill stations and sixteen bottle filler retrofits. The locations for stations and bottle refill tretrofits are identified based on the following criteria:

  • Current water fountains meet the Design Guidelines for Installation of Bottle Refill Stations in Existing Buildings
  • Lowest cost installation for refill stations (plumbing only, minimal electrical work, if needed and no major construction)
  • ADA compliant fountains for water fountain retrofits with bottle fillers; only some styles of fountains can be retrofitted with bottle fillers
  • High traffic location in buildings with the highest general classroom assignments
  • Building manager approval

This proposal builds upon the 2010 and 2011 TGIF grants, which funded the Design Guidelines for Installation of Bottle Refill Stations in Existing Buildings and installation of a total of 6 refill stations and 2 water fountain retrofits.

Goals: Continue to improve access to tap water on campus, which supports the use of reusable drinking containers and reduces the purchase and disposal of single-use plastic water bottles. Support campus goals to reduce waste, improve tap water accessibility, and foster a sustainable culture. Prioritize water fountain retrofits with bottle fillers for a total of 16 and the potential for 5 additional refill stations. Work with campus departments and PP-CS to institutionalize future bottle refill stations as part of any new construction projects. Collaborate with I Heart Tap Water, Take Back the Tap, Building Sustainability at Cal, and the UCB Nutrition and Physical Activity Work Group. Track campus bottled water sales and track bottle refill station use with the station's automatic counters.

2013 Poster

2012-2013 Accomplishments

Water Cooler Conversion Guide- Tools & Resources
Is your Department's Green Team thinking of eliminating the office water cooler but not sure where to start?
There are many things to consider when thinking about eliminating the office water cooler or changing to a "bottle-less" cooler that is plumbed to the tap water line. From learning about the needs and concerns of the building occupants to the options for replacement, there are several steps recommended to identify solutions that will meet most everyone's needs, as well as align with the sustainability and health goals of the department and University.
Questions? Contact Trish Ratto, RD- Manager, Health*Matters Wellness Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Three refill station locations were identified and approved. Approvals for all sixteen bottle refill retrofits were completed.
    • The three refill stations and sixteen bottle refill retrofits were installed.
    • Refill stations were installed in Wheeler, Kroeber, and Sproul Halls.
    • Bottle refill retrofits were completed in
      • VLSB (2)
      • LSA (2)
      • Evans Hall 2nd floor
      • Wheeler Hall 2nd floor
      • Cory Hall
      • Doe Library Annex
      • GPB
      • Latimer
      • LeConte (2)
      • Pimentel
      • Tan
  • A meeting was held with Capital Projects and the Elkay sales team about their new outdoor model refill station and soon-to-be-released no power/mechanical model, which may be able to be used in certain campus locations.
  • Ongoing maintenance of all campus bottle refill stations has been successfully transitioned to PP-CS.

New Water Bottle Refill Stations and Fountain Bottle Fillers Funded by TGIF
At Cal there are a lot of reasons to love tap water. It's sourced from Sierra Nevada snowmelt, it's clean, it tastes good, it's sustainable, and it's free! However, two barriers still drive students to purchase single use water bottles — lack of knowledge that our tap water is safe and tastes great, and access to tap water sources that make it easy to refill a water container.

Those barriers are starting to fade with several more water bottle refill stations installed throughout the campus. The Green Initiative Fund has funded new refill stations in Sproul Hall (first floor by the visitor center), Wheeler Hall (first floor near room 130), and Kroeber Hall (by the Hearst Museum of Anthropology). Several departments have added refill stations including locations in Barrows Hall ground floor by room 44 and Hearst Gymnasium next to the west entrance.

TGIF also funded bottle fillers installed on existing ADA-compliant water fountains, a cost-effective solution allowing more installations in more buildings. You can find bottle fillers on fountains in the ASUC, Doe Library, Tan Hall, Latimer, Pimentel, LeConte, Cory, GPB, LSA, and VLSB. See the google map of refill stations on campus in publically-accessible locations. You can also take the "I Heart Tap Water" Pledge here!

-article originally published by Trish Ratto in the May 2013 issue of Bright Green News from the Office of Sustainability.

View I ♥ Tap Map in a larger map

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.