ReNEWW HouseRetrofit Net Zero: Energy. Water. Waste.
Whirlpool Corporation, along with Purdue University, has transformed an existing home near Purdue’s campus into a world class research laboratory and sustainable living showcase. ReNEWW stands for Retrofitted Net-zero Energy, Water & Waste and represents the aspirational vision for the project: to convert a home, originally built in 1928, to offset all its energy use with solar power, to only rely on locally available water sources, and to have waste handling systems in place that prevent any household waste from going to the landfill. ReNEWW House is providing valuable insights for our homebuilder collaborators and customers on technologies that enable sustainable living. We leverage the world class facilities and collaborate with Purdue researchers to accelerate the development of the next generation of ultra-high efficiency appliances that increase core performance while lowering their impact on the environment and cost to operate.
ReNEWW House in the News
The average age of a single family home in the US is 34 years old, meaning that much of the existing housing stock was constructed in an era that offered both relatively inexpensive energy and did not consider carbon dioxide as a form of pollution that contributes to global warming. Consequently, simple energy efficiency measures are sorely lacking in these homes—a problem with far reaching consequences, but also an opportunity for substantial energy savings.
The ReNEWW House retrofit sought to both preserve the historic character of the house, while also vastly improving its’ overall energy and water efficiency. The retrofit took place in 3 stages – first, a deep energy retrofit to get to Net Zero Energy. This was followed by an interior remodel and water system retrofit to achieve Net-Zero Water Usage, in which Whirlpool worked with Kohler Corporation. Finally, Ford Motor Company enabled the addition of a new garage with a Ford Focus BEV and EV Charging Station.
Before & After - Front of House
Before & After - Back of House
Before & After - Kitchen
Before & After - Central Area
Before & After - Basement
Before & After - Garage
Net Zero Energy
According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), residential housing units account for 22 percent of the total primary energy usage in the US. Over two thirds of this energy is used for HVAC, appliances, or water heating¹. Since the ReNEWW House is in a heating climate with many cloudy days, the home underwent a massive energy retrofit to address energy consumption and storage. This included new appliances, insulation, HVAC, water heater, lighting, windows, doors, siding and roofing. In addition, a drainline heat recovery system was added to recover waste energy from the shower drain and use it to heat incoming cold water. Finally, to get to Net Zero Energy, a Solar Thermal (PVT) System was added to the roof, to generate as much energy in one year as is used inside the house.
Solar Panel – South Side
Solar Panel – West Side
Siding & Windows
Drain Heat Recovery
Net Zero Water
The average person in the United States uses 91 gallons of water per day. This water use translates into roughly $1000 per American family per year to pay for their water usage. Much of this water usage is potable, treated water that is flushed immediately down the drain. In phase 2 of the ReNEWW House Retrofit, the old, outdated water-using fixtures and appliances were replaced with new, water-efficient Kohler fixtures and Whirlpool appliances. In addition, rainwater harvesting and filtration was installed onsite for all potable water applications. Finally, in an effort to offset potable water usage for toilet flushing, a CleanBlu Greywater treatment system was installed onsite. After all these improvements, the residents of the house have been consuming roughly 21 gallons per person, per day… a ~75% reduction in water usage!