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Jul 232009
 

The same could be said for markets in industrialized nations. Ecoloblue does not fit every household budget, though Tieleman says the Miami-based company is working hard to keep margins tight and enhance the machine’s value. Newer models will be able to make sparkling water and possibly later, include a built-in coffee maker. Already the “28″ model chills and heats the water, making it appealing to tea and cocoa drinkers.

Believe it or not. one criticism of this pure water is that it’s too pure; that it is effectively just like distilled water because it lacks minerals and fails to give us the trace minerals we get from tap water. The Ecoloblue solution has been to offer a filter that adds back beneficial calcium and magnesium, and to point to experts who note that tap water provides only a tiny fraction of these daily mineral needs; most comes from food.

“You have two schools of thought with mineral water. The first is that you have to drink mineral water or you’re going to be depleted of minerals. The second is that you can drink pure water and be fine, and that the intake from your food is more important,” said Tieleman, who notes that some people are “aggressive” in their views.

Our friendly neighborhood vitamin store specialist confirmed that magnesium is vital because it helps the body absorb calcium, and calcium, of course, is critical for strong bones. But, she said, you get most of what you need from food and you can take supplements to get more. Tap water would not suffice, especially for women who want to assure they’re getting adequate calcium.)

Aside from the health benefits of the Ecoloblue water, there’s a green factor that’s difficult to gauge precisely. Yes, the machine uses electricity to heat and cool the water it dispenses and to pull the water from the air. But water treatment plants also expend energy.

Tieleman says the machine uses no more electricity than a standard coffee pot, and notes that neither the existing or new compressor (which drives the de-humidification process) is an energy hog.

AWGs might play a role in water conservation. As the Pacific Institute has warned industrialized nations need to become more water efficient, especially in their business practices: “…we are approaching the limits of our resources in some places. And to complicate matters, climate change, aging infrastructure, watershed modification, chemical pollution, and population growth also threaten water supplies- even in the United States.”

Certainly, self-generated water presents a lower footprint compared with bottled water, which produces trash (less than 20 percent of which is recycled) and burns fossil fuels at two junctures, when bottled and then again, in transport.

Our take: This could be the water equivalent of local food. It’s definitely not part of the problem, and for those who can afford it, and place a high priority on quality water, it can be a slick solution. It goes on the positive side of the green ledger.

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