LAS VEGAS — This year both American Standard and Kohler have been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program with the 2012 WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year award for the companies’ efforts surrounding the education and awareness of water issues. The awards were presented during the WaterSmart Innovations Conference here in early October.
The WaterSense program, sponsored by the EPA, encourages consumers to reduce their water usage through water saving products and services, as well as by making simple changes in behavior to help conserve water. The WaterSense Partner of the Year awards recognize organizations that are on the cutting edge of water efficiency innovation, collaboration and outreach.
Kohler was the first company to earn the EPA WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year Award in 2008. The company received the Partner of the Year award again in 2009, and was lauded with Excellence Awards in 2010 and 2011.
“American Standard Brands is privileged to be recognized by the EPA as its 2012 WaterSense Partner of the Year for the pioneering product solutions, technical leadership and outstanding performance that have been part of our company’s heritage for over 140 years,” said Jay Gould, president and CEO of American Standard Brands.
“Kohler has made great strides in the past year in water conservation, not only in its product offering but also in public awareness and education,” said Rob Zimmerman, manager of engineering, water conservation and sustainability for Kohler Co. “Kohler is known for its work in advancing the plumbing industry in technology and design, and water conservation is no different.”
One of the initiatives noted by the WaterSense program was the “Wasting Water is Weird” public service announcement campaign that Kohler planned, sponsored and executed with several other organizations in the industry. This campaign was a bold and humorous way to reach consumers with the water conservation message and also included a large social media and web component, helping increase its effectiveness with a larger audience.
Kohler’s efforts to promote water conservation included product placement in several high-profile projects and locations including ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; Yellowstone National Park; The House in Innoventions at Epcot, Disney World, Orlando, Fla.; PUNCHouse, Lisa Ling’s personal home focused on sustainable living; and the World Trade Center museum restrooms.
Additionally, Kohler increased its WaterSense labeled showerhead offering by more than double, providing a multitude of new designs to consumers that will continue to help save water.
American Standard is being awarded a 2012 Manufacturer Partner of the Year distinction, in part, for developing a WaterSense-labeled toilet that can be installed without tools, making it easier than ever for homeowners to upgrade to a water-saving toilet. The SAVER high efficiency toilet, using 1.28-GPF and meeting WaterSense certification requirements for water savings, is designed to be installed with hand tightening, no tools needed. Offered in both two-piece and one-piece models, the SAVER offers the Right Height bowl configuration that meets ADA requirements for accessibility.
The company also demonstrated a commitment to water conservation by organizing the Responsible Bathroom Tour, a mobile plumbing showroom that visited more than 100 locations nationwide in 2011, presenting water conserving products and strategies. This walk-through plumbing showroom provided hands-on demonstrations of WaterSense certified toilets, faucets and showerheads to over 26,000 people across the U.S. Additionally, the tour partnered with numerous water utility companies, reaching approximately 5.8 million residential water customers with rebate incentive information to replace older water-guzzling toilets with HET models.
As part of its water conservation educational efforts, American Standard produced a “Professor Toilet” blog that serves both the professional and residential customer audiences, sharing useful information about plumbing products, conserving water, remodeling homes and a myriad of helpful topics. Delivered in a humor, light-hearted manner, the Professor’s blog posts helped to educate the public, and entertain at the same time.
Nancy Stoner, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for water stated, “WaterSense is proud to partner with these champions of water efficiency who share our mission to protect the future of our nation’s water supply. The 2012 WaterSense Partners of the Year were exceptional in their efforts to support innovative approaches to help people and companies save water and money on utility bills nationwide.”
WaterSense, the EPA’s voluntary public-private partnership program, seeks to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs and practices. Plumbing fixtures and faucets that qualify for the WaterSense label assure consumers of actual water savings and strict performance standards. According to the EPA, WaterSense labeled products have helped Americans save 287 billion gallons of water and $4.7 billion in water and energy bills.