At Kohler we believe that quality and environmental responsibility go hand in hand. The second plank of our sustainability strategy is to drive growth and innovation in sustainable products and services. We are developing products that have lower environmental impacts over their entire life cycle and are beginning to systematically incorporate sustainability into the product development process.
Our continued focus on water-efficient products empowers consumers to make a difference in their own homes. Since the first KOHLER products carrying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense® label were introduced in 2007, these products have allowed consumers to reduce water use by over 110 billion gallons and save over $1.3 billion in water, sewer and energy costs.
In late 2015 we shipped our first order of KOHLER® Clarity™ water filters, designed to help bring safe water to underserved communities. Currently there are 1.8 billion people in the world who lack access to safe drinking water and, as a result, are exposed to debilitating infectious diseases. We also constructed the first prototype of our Closed-Loop Advanced Sanitation System while working in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the California Institute of Technology. The prototypes are being field-tested in Coimbatore, India, and we are looking to incorporate these learnings into the next generation of distributed sanitation products.
Our aim first and foremost is to pioneer design advancements that bring enhanced functionality and beautiful style to your life. Environmental considerations are one of the many lenses through which we approach innovation.
Design for the Environment (DfE) is an approach to product development that considers the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifecycle – from the extraction of its raw materials through manufacturing, packaging, use and to its ultimate end via recycling, repurposing, or disposal. In 2013, Kohler formalized its commitment to developing more environmentally favorable products and incorporated DfE principles into our product development process. We set criteria in the following areas to determine if a product really is more environmentally favorable:
Today, DfE is a normal part of how Kohler designers approach their work. As recycling and reuse technologies continue to evolve, we continue to learn how to create products that you not only love and want in your life, but that make good environmental– and business – sense.
Square pegs, round holes. That was the problem with our Toilets-to-Go packaging. The boxes were cumbersome, they enclosed a lot of air and they wasted a lot of material. Applying some innovative, DfE thinking, our team came up with the “Octobox,” an eight-sided wonder that’s stronger, easier to pick up, and uses 23% less cardboard – which translates to an annual savings of more than 20 million square feet of material. Taking our thinking a step further, we now print the installation instructions on the box rather than on separate sheets of paper, and that amounts to an additional annual savings of more than 11,200 pounds of paper.
Our tailored bathroom vanities have DfE woven into almost every aspect of their design.
In addition, the factory uses a closed-loop chemical recovery system, efficient lights and low-emission vehicles in the logistics and delivery of materials and finished products.
When it was time to update the electronic fuel injection (EFI) system developed years ago for our general purpose engines, Kohler engineers went several steps further, developing it for propane as well as gasoline-fueled engines. The result was an EFI that reduced fuel consumption by up to 25% compared to an engine with a carburetor and one that in its propane-fueled version reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.
We’ve committed to steadily increasing the number of more environmentally favorable products in our portfolio and total sales. These are products that provide measurable environmental benefits to either you or us or both. For us, that means bringing you products that deliver the incredible performance and style you know and love, in a way that’s responsible and respectful of the environment. And simply put, that’s just good business.
We set criteria in the following areas to determine if a product really is more environmentally favorable:
When it comes to products, Believing in Better means challenging ourselves to create products and services that exceed our customer’s performance and design expectations and are also better for the environment.
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD®) is a verified, registered document that provides quantified data on the life-cycle environmental impact of a product. The data included is standardized in accordance with ISO 14025.
In practical terms, an EPD allows people concerned about the environment to make informed choices about the products they purchase. It discloses the material content of the product, its percentages of recycled and recyclable content, its cradle-to-grave carbon footprint and its relevant certifications. Kohler is pleased to provide Environmental Product Declarations for a growing selection of our products.
The U.S. Green Building Council awards up to 2 LEED points to green building projects that use products with verified EPDs.
2 gallons of water per flush
A surprisingly low gpf, for the era. Gravity did all the work for these early models.
8 - 10 gallons of water per flush
As styles changed, the standard was having the tank sit directly on the back of the bowl.
3.5 gallons of water per flush
The Wellworth® Water-Guard toilet reduced water use to 3.5 gallons per flush.
1.6 gallons of water per flush
In 1989, Kohler introduced Wellworth® Lite featuring a 1.6 gallons flush.
1.6 gallons of water per flush
In 1991, Pressure Clean toilets first appeared, using only 1.0 to 1.4 gallons of water.
1.28 gallons of water per flush
In 2007, the WaterSense Toilet Standard was established. We offer a variety of technologies that use 1.28 gallons per flush.