Whirlpool Corp. is on track to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 6.6 percent by 2012, according to the company’s first global sustainability report. The company also cut water use by 21.5 percent and overall waste generated per unit decreased by nearly 4 percent from 2004 to 2008. The appliance maker also recycled 90 percent of its waste in 2008.
In 2003, Whirlpool became the world’s first appliance manufacturer to announce a global GHG reduction target. The company recently announced that by 2015, it will make all of its electronically controlled appliances smart-grid compatible. The appliance maker also plans to produce one million smart-energy clothes dryers by the end of 2011 as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Smart Grid Investment Grant program.
The global appliance maker says by improving the energy efficiency of its products by just 1 percent it is the equivalent to about a 150-percent improvement in its manufacturing facility-related emissions.
In 2008, Whirlpool’s global manufacturing facilities consumed nearly 8.7 million Gigajoules of energy. Between 2004 and 2008, energy usage (which includes electricity, propane, natural gas and diesel fuel) increased slightly, which the company attributes to the addition of four manufacturing facilities as a result of the 2006 acquisition of Maytag Corp. and overall increased production.
Whirlpool has implemented several projects to reduce the amount of energy used in producing its products. As an example, the company’s freezer manufacturing facility in Siena, Italy, has reduced its energy consumption by 80 percent by installing an evaporation cooling system in one of its packaging buildings.
Other projects like upgrading a ventilation system at a plant in Sweden and replacing a lighting system at a plant in Naples are expected to reduce energy use by 20 and 60 percent, respectively.
Whirlpool’s water consumption dropped 21.5 percent between 2004 and 2008 even with the addition of four manufacturing facilities as part of the Maytag acquisition. In 2008, Whirlpool’s manufacturing facilities worldwide consumed 9.3 million cubic meters of water.
Some of the projects the company has implemented to reduce water use include an environmental initiative at a facility in Amiens, France, that has slashed water use by 60 percent since 1999, and the installation of a co-generation system at a plant in Cassinetta, Italy, that will reduce water consumption by 30 percent. The facility also recently installed a new ultrasound washing machine technology, which will save an additional 5 percent of water per year.
Two factories are now reusing waste water. A plant in Brazil is currently using about 60 percent reused waste water in the manufacturing process, and about 50 percent of the water used in the manufacturing process at the new Beijing plant is reused waste water.
In 2008, Whirlpool’s global manufacturing facilities produced 385,086 metric ton of waste, of which nearly 90 percent was recycled. Total waste produced by the company’s manufacturing operations increased in 2006 due to the acquisition of Maytag Corporation.
Overall waste generated per unit decreased by nearly 4 percent from 2004 to 2008.
Whirlpool also participates in several appliance efficiency projects including the GREEN KITCHEN concept, the zero-emissions LEAF Community Project and the Pacific Northwest GridWise Demonstration Project.
Whirlpool also participates in new Smart Green Grid Initiative (SGGI), a collaborative effort aimed at demonstrating the role of smart-grid technologies and practices in meeting climate change goals.