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Why do design research for water?

Take a moment, and think about your day in terms of water consumption. Do you keep a fresh glass of water on your bedside table and drink it as soon as you wake up? Do you forget to drink water until noon and then scarf down a water bottle?

We think about this a lot. At its core, Elkay is a brand dedicated to bringing drinking water to all in an easily accessible, and sustainable way.

In the midst of this seemingly constant water news, we worked with the design research Vidlet to conduct a study involving water filtration and its importance in all of our daily lives. In this particular study, we learned that many people live with the solutions they have always known for water filtration and do not consider their so-called “solutions” as pain points.

Let us give you an example: many water dispensers in refrigerators will fill a reusable water bottle at a glacial pace (pun intended). Just think about the time you spend filling your water bottle. It’s a lot of time, isn’t it? The individuals we spoke with had not considered this an annoyance until it was pointed out to them. No wonder so many people still opt for single-use water bottles— it really is faster to just grab one and go.

We also heard from students in high schools and colleges throughout the country. A lot of them had no way to easily refill a reusable water bottle between classes, thus forcing them to use single-use water bottles instead.

As a challenge, we encourage you to walk through the rest of your day with clean drinking water in mind. Think about the many compromises you make in terms of purity, flow, temperature or portability. This lack of innovation can lead to downfall, like what we have seen with the massive excess of plastic waste that we all know by now is driving carbon emissions through the roof.

"Elkay has provided Vidlet the opportunity to reframe how we need to think about water in our daily lives," says Paige Guge, senior design researcher at Vidlet. “Water is one of our most precious resources, and that means that innovation that leads to change matters”.

We believe that people are not naive—they know that single-use plastic bottles aren’t the best option environmentally. The thing that is frustrating is the lack of innovation in water filtration, with few solutions coming out to make reusable water bottles the fastest option.

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