According to recent projections from the Energy Information Agency and USA Today, by 2025 Americans will see their water bills double and potentially triple in major metro areas. This threat to the wallets of homeowners across the country is adding to speculation that pressure to the U.S. infrastructure, already desperate for solutions to a water shortage in California, is headed toward a significant issue in water access. At this week’s Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego, Whirlpool Corporation and Kohler Co. announced the two companies have committed to identify ways to achieve net-zero water in the home in connection with ReNEWW House, a retrofitted, net-zero energy, water and waste research home located near the Purdue University campus.
Through their products, Whirlpool Corporation, the number one major home appliance manufacturer in the world, and Kohler Co., a global leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bath products, make up nearly all of the indoor water usage in the residential home. During the conference representatives from both companies discussed a shared hope to create energy and water advancements that lead to reduced consumption and allow existing buildings to become self-sustaining systems.
“With 860 million appliances in the United States alone, Whirlpool Corporation has reduced energy and water consumption in our products to deliver efficient home appliances. It’s time to look at how we can leverage our appliances to optimize and transform the total home system to try to achieve net-zero water impact,” said Ron Voglewede, Global Sustainability Director, Whirlpool Corporation and member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency’s Board of Directors. “We are excited to work with Kohler on the ReNeWW House as we look to create new, viable solutions to help new and existing homeowners save water and conserve our most vital natural resource.”
“We recognize that to further extend the benefits of water-efficient fixtures and faucets while maintaining optimum performance, we need to look at home water consumption holistically,” said Rob Zimmerman, Kohler Sustainability Senior Channel Manager. “We hope that by combining our engineering resources with those of Whirlpool’s to understand the technical challenges of creating a ‘net zero water’ house, we can develop new insights for designing home plumbing, water storage and treatment systems that further reduce water use and better protect our water supplies.” Research into new insights and opportunities for water conservation in the home will be ongoing over the next two years as part of the opportunity with ReNEWW House, a retrofitted, net-zero energy, water and waste research home located near the Purdue University campus.
Both companies share a commitment to sustainability evident through product and process innovation while lowering environmental impact. Whirlpool Corporation created a corporate office for environmental control in 1970, cementing the company’s on-going commitment to environmental protection and natural resource efficiency. The company has led the development of new sustainability standards for home appliances, and is the most awarded appliance manufacturer by the Environmental Protection Agency for continued commitment to energy and water efficient products.
Kohler has a long history of supporting water efficiency and sustainability in its products and is aligned with organizations such as the Alliance for Water Efficiency and U.S. Green Building Council. Recognized by the EPA WaterSense® program for excellence and partnership for each of the past seven years, the company has positioned itself as a sustainability leader in the plumbing industry with educational programs, awareness campaigns, and water-saving products.