Green Building Perspectives: Whirlpool

Continuing our blog series Green Building Perspectives, posts dedicated to highlighting our esteemed partners here at Green Life Smart Life, this week we feature Whirlpool Corporation.  Whirlpool will be providing the project with the latest in ENERGY STAR® rated appliances such as the refridgerator, washer and dryer and dishwasher. 

Whirlpool Brand Logo - for webWhat do you think of the Green Life Smart Life Project to date? What interested Whirlpool about participating in the project?

Green Life Smart Life is certainly a unique project, and Whirlpool is excited to be a part of it, especially since we have similar goals. Much like Green Life Smart Life, Whirlpool seeks to help families green their lifestyles with simple tips to help them be more efficient in the kitchen and laundry room. In a recent survey that Whirlpool conducted with Harris Interactive, 84 percent of consumers said that energy efficiency is most important to them in regards to appliances. And while Whirlpool manufactures energy-efficient appliances, the company also looks to help people use the products more efficiently, and aligning with this project is a great way to do so.

Where does Whirlpool see green living going in the next 5 years?  

Whirlpool always strives to develop products to meet consumer needs and consumers continue to clamor for eco-efficient products that can save money while making their daily lives just a little bit easier. The next step in this process is going to be smart grid technology. Whirlpool announced in May that all of the electronically controlled appliances the company manufactures will be smart grid compatible by 2015. This will enable two-way communication between appliances and the utility grid resulting in real-time monitoring, leading to a more efficient system. Whirlpool is continuing to form public-private partnerships to keep this initiative moving.

How is your company evolving to address green living and energy efficiency?

Our evolution can be seen in the products themselves. Whirlpool seeks to bring energy efficiency to products which match any lifestyle or value. For example, top-load laundry is still the preferred configuration among consumers, so Whirlpool developed the high-efficiency (HE) Cabrio washer so that they could also enjoy HE benefits. Similarly, conventional top-loading machines from Whirlpool are now ENERGY-STAR rated. Whirlpool is also developing products with enhanced design and features that are also some of the most efficient products on the market. For example, the Whirlpool brand Resource Saver refrigerator uses less energy than a 60-watt lightbulb making it the most energy efficient side-by-side refrigerator on the market. The best part about it is that it through advancements in technology; it is efficient and functional without sacrificing performance or capacity.

 What challenges do you see Whirlpool facing in the evolution of green living?

Whirlpool is constantly seeking new ways to help educate consumers about the latest energy-efficient laundry and kitchen products to help them save money, but it can be challenging. For example, in a recent survey, about 40 percent of consumers said they do not understand what high efficiency means with regards to laundry appliances. Additionally, few people realize that HE benefits are available in both front-load and top-load laundry configurations. Therefore, we find it essential to keep efficiency at the forefront of our conversations with consumers.

The same type of education is needed in the kitchen as well. For example, today’s ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators use 60 percent less energy than non ENERGY STAR models made just 10 years ago. That is a tremendous advancement, but in a recent survey, more than 50 percent of consumers still labeled the refrigerator as the appliance which uses the most energy on a day to day basis. Additionally, 20 percent of consumers revealed they own a refrigerator that is 10+ years old..

Do you think “green” will ever dominate your business?

Eco-efficiency is a significant focus for Whirlpool. In a recent survey, more than 80 percent of consumers said that energy is most important to them when it comes to appliance efficiency which tells us we’re on the right track. Whirlpool always keeps consumer insights in mind when developing new products, so we are constantly looking to develop products that will reduce energy bills and save consumers money. 

Anything else you would like to add about the green living market or the Green Life Smart Life project?

While it is important for consumers to take advantage of energy-efficient appliances, they need to keep in mind that lifestyle changes are essential as well. For example, consumers should remember that pre-rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher can use up to 20 gallons of water. Instead of using that water, they should just scrape food off the dishes and load the dishwasher. Moreover, running the dishwasher late at night can avoid peak hours andlower utility bills. Whether it’s only washing a load of laundry while the washing machine is full, or making sure pans fit the burners on a range to efficiently utilize heat, there are numerous, simple ways that consumers can reduce their impact. Green Life Smart Life can certainly encourage these practices, and Whirlpool is excited to be a part of it.

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