Whirlpool, Kohler Commit to Research Project for Net-Zero Water in the Home

Whirlpool Corporation and Kohler will collaborate to identify ways to achieve net-zero water in the home, according to an announcement made this week at SB '15 San Diego.

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.

Whirlpool says it already has helped reduce energy and water consumption in the 860 million appliances in the United States alone. But the company now is looking at how it can leverage its appliances to optimize and transform the total home system to try to achieve net-zero water impact. Kohler's leadership concurs.

“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,” Rob Zimmerman, Kohler Sustainability Senior Channel Manager, said in a statement. “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.

All of this couldn’t have come at a better time — by 2025 Americans will see their water bills double and potentially triple in major metro areas, according to recent projections from the Energy Information Agency and USA Today.

Late last year, Kohler received a two-year grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to design and fabricate five closed-loop flush toilet systems for field testing in developing world locations without adequate sanitation. The grant followed a successful two-year cooperative project between Kohler and Caltech in the development of a photovoltaic toilet as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, hosted by the Gates Foundation.

Speaking of Bill Gates, the billionaire made headlines earlier this year when he personally put the latest technology for wastewater processing to the ultimate test — by drinking water produced from recycled human sewage. The technology could go a long way in reducing water footprints of residential and commercial buildings worldwide.


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