A press release from Whirlpool Corp. detailed the history of its environmental and sustainability efforts.
Among them, Whirlpool noted its longtime involvement in the U.S. Energy Star program. The company helped draft the first Energy Star appliance standards. Today it sells 424 Energy Star appliance models under its various brand names and has earned 23 Energy Star Awards since the beginning of the program in 1998.
"Our success over the years has come from the realization you have to build energy efficient appliances with the innovative features and benefits consumers want," said Nick Gillespie, senior manager of government relations for Whirlpool Corporation. "This is not an 'either/or' situation; we must offer great products that are both innovative and efficient to be effective in protecting the environment. We have done just that and more with all of our energy saving products, including those that we are proud to have designated as Energy Star."
Whirlpool's sustainability strategy encompasses most aspects of its business, from materials and processes to product technologies and end-of-life recycling.
Whirlpool noted that there are more than 860 million appliances in homes in the United States, many of them 10 years old or more. That means a significant opportunity for overall energy and water savings lies in educating consumers on the benefits of replacing old, less-efficient appliances with new advanced products. One example: a new washer is 77% more efficient than one from the year 2000 and costs $66 a year to run. The company estimates that consumers who replace older models can save $117 a year. New front-load washing machines are 70% more efficient when it comes to water use, the company pointed out, so 2014 appliances use about 26 gallons of water less per load than those from 2000.
Other sustainability efforts by the corporation include improving its processes, using advanced materials, and investing in state-of-the-art facilities to minimize environmental impact. Highlights of Whirlpool Corp. efforts:
• It became the first U.S. manufacturer of Energy Star refrigerators and freezers committed to using EPA SNAP-approved environmentally friendly Solstice foam blowing agent, engineered for better energy efficiency and a 99.9% improvement in the global warming potential (GWP) over the most commonly used blowing agents in the United States, HFC-245fa.
• It has a global facility sustainability program that has achieved several LEED certifications.
• It has ongoing partnerships in programs to study explore and test "net-zero" energy homes.
• In 2013, the company introduced a suite of smart grid-compatible appliances.
• It was one of 13 founding members of the Business Environment Leadership Council, an advisory group to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The Center conducts studies and international educational programs on the issue of global climate change.
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