Innovation and Design for Sustainability
Driving sustainability in our products
Innovation is at the core of our efforts to produce products that are good for our consumers and for the planet. By designing products that reduce the use of nonrenewable resources and lower our product carbon and water footprints, we are delivering on our promise to improve life at home. Through our Design for Sustainability (DfS) program, we carry through that commitment and support the design of new products with exceptional quality, innovation and performance.
Life cycle assessment provides insights into sustainable design and impact
We approach DfS from a product life cycle perspective: design, manufacturing, use and end of life. We look beyond the design phase and consider the entire environmental footprint of our products throughout their life cycle, from the selection of raw materials to the end of their useful life. DfS is establishing design standards to improve the environmental performance of our products by focusing on resource management of energy, water and materials.
The methodology used to analyze these impacts is based on a standardized Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that informs our product development process. We continue to improve our LCA capabilities to consider potential environmental impacts linked to the short- and long-term strategy to drive a decarbonization roadmap. In 2022, we completed an LCA of a clothes washer and dryer pair currently on the market. It required creating an impact assessment aligned with the Environmental Footprint (EF 3.0) methodology to analyze results. The assessment focused on impact categories in line with our sustainability strategy, including climate change, use of fossil fuels, use of minerals and metals, particulate matter and water use. Because products within the same category have similar impacts throughout their life cycle phases, we focus on analyzing key products that provide a comprehensive view of impacts and inform improvements for each category. Based on our assessments, the biggest areas of impact are in the product-use phase due to energy consumption.
Innovation and Design for Sustainability
- Signed the CEO Water Mandate, a commitment platform under the UN Global Compact, to progress water stewardship and take action in six areas: Direct Operations, Supply Chain and Watershed Management, Collective Action, Public Policy, Community Engagement and Transparency.
- Published an updated Sustainable Product Playbook, which expands our definition of “Sustainable Product” to include Design for Circularity and Design for Water Resource Efficiency.
- Whirlpool Corp.’s ReNEWW House sponsored five research projects on topics including home energy management, thermal energy management, grey water analysis and laundry technology.
Sustainable Product Playbook
Since its inception in 2021, the Sustainable Product Playbook has been used as a guide for Whirlpool Corp. engineers to reference throughout the product design process. The material outlines several design standards for key sustainability attributes, and informs engineers on the methods to determine the environmental impact of products for each attribute. Ultimately the guide is helpful to provide practical information on how engineers can design products from a lens of sustainability principles in order to reduce our overall environmental impact.
In 2022, the Playbook was updated to include two new chapters: Design for Circularity and Design for Water Resource Efficiency. The new chapters were included to reflect the expanding definition of a sustainable product at Whirlpool Corp.
Repairability is a key requirement for sustainable products and, together with reliability, contributes to the durability of the product. Increasing reliability/durability can contribute to the reduction of resource use (materials and energy) and thus can have a positive impact on challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity and pollution and can improve customer satisfaction through extending product longevity.
Connecting the home with smart energy management
In November 2022, Whirlpool Corp. announced we are taking steps toward making smart appliances work more harmoniously in home ecosystems by supporting and being an active member of Matter, an industry-unifying standard led by the Connectivity Standards Alliance. For consumers, Matter is a seal of approval that says smart devices work reliably together. That trust brings consumers the comfort of a secure and seamless connected home.
Matter will afford consumers the ability to manage their appliance energy usage. There is growing recognition that not all electricity consumed is the same. Consumption at one time of day can cause different greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than during other time periods. Optimized consumption presents the opportunity to:
- Lower energy consumption and save consumers money
- Decrease appliance emissions and increase the proportion of energy sourced from renewables
- Achieve the above without negative impacts to device energy efficiency or product performance