Airport SFO Water Filling Station


In August 2019, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) became the first in North America to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. To support this initiative and improve guest experience, SFO commissioned Billings Jackson to design and deliver a new benchmark in Water Filling Stations, offering chilled, ambient and hot water.

The project was highly collaborative, with airport-wide stakeholder involvement throughout the concept, prototyping and testing phases. The team was led by Billings Jackson Design and comprised watercooler manufacturers, Blupura; wayfinding and user experience specialists, City ID; architects, Corgan; and contractor, Fisher Development.

The tap itself is the first-of-its-kind and is exceptionally user-friendly. It was developed through close collaboration between Billings Jackson and Blupura and it features a large digital screen to provide visual directions, with user interface and iconography by City ID. The taps utilize touchless technology, using sensors and hand gestures to activate the water flow.

The Water Filling Station offers unprecedented fill speed with a smooth, laminar flow to prevent splashing. The water is triple filtered to ensure the purity and clean taste of the drinking water.

The hot tap has a timed safety feature to minimize the risk of burns, and the temperature is precisely controlled for additional safety. The grille design helps users locate their bottle accurately under the nozzle and it has angled stainless-steel profiles to quickly draw any spills away. These safety measures also reduce maintenance, as does the monolithic design of the counter and the continuous shell of the tap itself. 

To improve user experience, the stations will be located where they are most needed, beyond security and in food courts and seating areas rather than alongside the restrooms. They are fully ADA-compliant and designed to promote social distancing and the design is modular, giving the airport absolute flexibility in the configuration of the furniture, the number of taps it holds and the type of water dispensed. 

To view a video explaining the project in detail, please click here.