Environmental SustainabilityEmbracing our role
We accept our responsibility to develop high-performance appliances that conserve the earth’s resources and help homeowners do the same. We continually monitor the environmental effects of our business, not only by creating many new and innovative products that consume less water and energy, but also by improving our manufacturing and distribution processes, and using materials that minimize the impact on the planet.
In 1970, when we created the corporate office for environmental control, we cemented our on-going commitment to environmental protection and natural resource efficiency. As we have grown globally, we have taken advantage of efficiencies in other regions to design and build the most efficient products around the globe. Every year, the appliances we make get more efficient than the appliances we made a year ago, five years ago and 10 years ago. We have held to our high values even when some countries would allow performance at levels below our global standards.
The ReNEWW House (Retrofit Net-Zero Energy Water Waste) is a 1920s three-bedroom home on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, in the United States. The home was extensively retrofitted and refurbished to be as energy and water efficient as possible. Whirlpool Corporation operates it as a live-in research lab and sustainable living showcase. During the school year, Whirlpool Corporation engineers obtaining their Master’s degrees at Purdue University reside in the house and perform research on innovative projects related to sustainability.
The majority of the environmental impact created by an appliance occurs during its in-home use and is generally 10 to 20 times higher than the impacts created during its production, distribution or disposal life cycle phases. That’s why we voluntarily participate in the ENERGY STAR® programs in the United States and Canada, the PROCEL standards in Latin America and the EU Directive in Europe. In the U.S., we worked with AHAM (Association of Household Appliance Manufacturers) to set the newest standards in appliances to assess the impacts from each stage of the life cycle of the product including the materials used to make the product, the manufacturing processes, water and energy efficiency during the use of the appliance, and end of life considerations.
We now belong to the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Alliance to Save Energy. We participate in several working groups including the Chicago Sustainable Leadership Forum and the Product Sustainability Roundtable (PSRT) in North America, Europe and India. Taking part at the Brazilian Association for Electroelectronics and Homeappliances Reversal Logistics – ABREE in Brazil and the Global Compact Committee in Brazil are some regional examples of our commitment with environmental actions and social responsibility.
Our refrigerators use the same or less energy, in one year, as a 60 watt light bulb.
Did you know?
Since the 1970's
on average, Whirlpool Corporation has decreased energy use by more than 75% in refrigeration while increasing capacity by 30%
On average, dishwashers and clothes washers
now save more than 75% in water and 70% in energy, while clothes washers have increased capacity by 20%
In North America
we have reduced the amount of water consumed it takes to make one appliance from 272 gallons in 1975 to just 39 gallons in all that we manufacture
Latin America Region dishwashers
were confirmed in a recent study to spend 4 to 6 times less water than manually cleaning the same amount.
Current Energy and Efficiency Efforts
1. Design, development and transportation
We strive for full transparency on all materials in our products and packaging. In addition, we comply with federal laws and regulations requiring disclosure of the use of conflict minerals.
Whirlpool is actively researching new materials that increase core and environmental performance in our products and packaging. One example of our continued pursuit of efficiency is our recent partnership with Honeywell who created a new liquid blowing agent for refrigeration. It allows for better insulation while reducing the potential for global warming by 99.9 percent compared to current HFCs*.
The term “conflict minerals” refers to certain identified minerals that may have directly or indirectly contributed to the financing of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries. To see additional information about Whirlpool’s supply chain due diligence and conflict mineral risk mitigation efforts, refer to our Conflict Mineral Report.
We strive to build our products in the most efficient facilities possible. Currently, we have almost 7 million square feet of LEED certified facilities (offices, plants and distribution centers). We have also installed electric truck lifts in the United States to further reduce emissions.
We partner with SmartWay Transport®, an EPA program for improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases, to reduce the carbon dioxide impact of our shipping. Currently we rely on rail-truck combinations for 27 percent of movements, and 55 percent of miles shipped. That’s saving the equivalent of 7.5 million gallons of diesel fuel per year and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 77,000 metric tons.
2. Life of Product
The most energy used in our products is during its life in our consumers’ home. That’s why we have a long history in environmental stewardship, including helping to draft the first ENERGY STAR® appliance standards for U.S. and Canada which are one element of the company’s broad-based sustainability strategy. In Latin America and Europe, we use PROCEL and EU Directives to set energy standards for products sold in those countries. In Latin America Region, approximately 80 percent of our home appliances portfolio is “A” class classified, that’s the less energy consuming product’s category. Whirlpool has partnered with other companies such as Nest and Ford Motor Company to actively research solutions around the world in smart home integration, home energy and water management and resource efficiency.
3. End of Life
90 percent of major appliances are recycled, according to the Steel Recycling Institute. The recycled materials can be used to make other products such as furniture, food containers and playground equipment instead of being sent to landfills. We are actively recycling products in North America, South America and Europe. We have also pioneered efforts to safely dispose of ozone-depleting refrigerants.
Whirlpool is committed to zero waste to landfills by 2022. In Brazil we have already achieved this milestone in all manufacturing facilities, while we continue to progress in other regions.
Whirlpool is also involved in circular economy whereby we can re-use materials from our products at end of life. You can see it at natgenius.com.