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What’s an Eco-Leader? According to the environmentally minded bunch at Green Builder magazine, it’s a company that is “embracing the triple bottom line and proving that sustainability is as good for revenues as it is for people and the planet.”
So it’s no question we’re honored to be featured in Green Builder’s July issue - alongside companies such as GE, Panasonic, Patagonia and Owens Corning – as a recipient of one of the magazine’s annual Eco-Leader awards.
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Those who read the profile on Kohler Co. – “The Bold Look of Water Conservation” – will get a glimpse of our three-pronged sustainability strategy: diminish the company footprint, develop innovative products that save water and energy, and drive awareness of conservation.
The Green Builder group also highlights our efforts, as a brand leader, to show the importance of water conservation by living it out through our products. Think low-flow and ultra low-flow designs vetted through our (long-time) participation in the EPA’s WaterSense program.
Because we all know actions speak louder than words, right?
As for our fellow Eco-Leaders, we’ll be the first to admit we’re in some very good company. It’s safe to say we know what’s on our reading list this month.
You can add it to yours, too. Dive into the online issue here (you can find us on pages 20-21).

What’s an Eco-Leader? According to the environmentally minded bunch at Green Builder magazine, it’s a company that is “embracing the triple bottom line and proving that sustainability is as good for revenues as it is for people and the planet.”

So it’s no question we’re honored to be featured in Green Builder’s July issue - alongside companies such as GE, Panasonic, Patagonia and Owens Corning – as a recipient of one of the magazine’s annual Eco-Leader awards.

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We’re inspired by fellow innovators, fellow dreamers, fellow think-outside-the-boxers. So when we heard about Lava Mae, a San Francisco-based program designed to deliver showers to the city’s homeless population via mobile buses, we hopped onboard to see how we could help. (Full disclosure: because plumbing happens to be one of our specialties, it wasn’t too difficult of a decision.)
The old city buses, received through a donation program, were retrofitted with KOHLER products, from showers to sinks to toilets to grab bars.
Why showers? “We believe that hygiene brings dignity, and dignity opens up opportunity,” founder Doniece Sandoval says in the program’s launch video.
This team is believing in better with each corner turned, neighborhood reached and pit stop made. We weren’t about to let this opportunity pass us by.
Learn more about Lava Mae’s journey here.

We’re inspired by fellow innovators, fellow dreamers, fellow think-outside-the-boxers. So when we heard about Lava Mae, a San Francisco-based program designed to deliver showers to the city’s homeless population via mobile buses, we hopped onboard to see how we could help. (Full disclosure: because plumbing happens to be one of our specialties, it wasn’t too difficult of a decision.)

The old city buses, received through a donation program, were retrofitted with KOHLER products, from showers to sinks to toilets to grab bars.

Why showers? “We believe that hygiene brings dignity, and dignity opens up opportunity,” founder Doniece Sandoval says in the program’s launch video.

This team is believing in better with each corner turned, neighborhood reached and pit stop made. We weren’t about to let this opportunity pass us by.

Learn more about Lava Mae’s journey here.

100,000 kilometers.
6,000 hours.
10,000 euro, saved.
It’s hard to believe, but Gérard Mathieu has been riding his bike to and from work (x2, for lunch with his wife) since he started at Kohler in September 1974.
For this Director of Europe/Middle East Faucet Operations, the daily rides of 16 kilometers – or about 10 miles – started because his wife Christiane needed their shared car to get to work. Rather than purchase another gas-guzzling vehicle, Mathieu decided to strap on a helmet and get a wheelin’.
Forty years and only five falls later, he’s still putting it in gear.
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Ask Mathieu what he likes about biking to and from the office and you’ll likely be convinced to hop on two wheels tomorrow, too. A few from his list: biking is good for your health and good for the environment, and it allows you to sneak into traffic, park for free in the city, enjoy free transportation and relish panoramic views.
Whew.
The environmental mindset doesn’t deflate when the wheels stop, though.
Mathieu waters his garden with rainwater, and the couple sorts their garbage, recycles plastic bags and produces their own compost from organic waste. Creating a healthier future for their children and grandchildren is a driving motivator, and leading by example is an integral piece of the puzzle.
So how can you, too, join Mathieu in believing in better?
 “Think about the concept of ‘environment,’ say what you think to be the meaning of ‘sustainability,’ and act as you thought and said to protect the planet,” Mathieu says.
We’ll see you in the bike lane.  

100,000 kilometers.

6,000 hours.

10,000 euro, saved.

It’s hard to believe, but Gérard Mathieu has been riding his bike to and from work (x2, for lunch with his wife) since he started at Kohler in September 1974.

For this Director of Europe/Middle East Faucet Operations, the daily rides of 16 kilometers – or about 10 miles – started because his wife Christiane needed their shared car to get to work. Rather than purchase another gas-guzzling vehicle, Mathieu decided to strap on a helmet and get a wheelin’.

Forty years and only five falls later, he’s still putting it in gear.

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The new attraction at the Quassy Amusement Park & Waterpark in Middlebury, Connecticut, isn’t an adrenaline-pumping coaster or a twisting-and-turning water slide; it’s the park’s remodeled restrooms. The mission: to dramatically reduce water usage amidst the park’s growing attendance.
A winter revamp of the main restrooms left the 3.5 gallon per flush (gpf) toilets behind in favor of our 1.28 gpf models and included an upgrade to more water-efficient urinals, too.
That’s something we’ll wait in line for.
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“We did our research when embarking on this project and found the KOHLER® products to be the ideal solution,” said Quassy President Eric Anderson. “Our major concern was the operation of the low-flow units not working efficiently and requiring additional flushes to clear the bowl. Kohler excels in this area.”
The family-run, family-fun park that plays host to approximately 225,000 guests a summer was a small order with a big impact; Quassy’s placement alongside a lake tangibly highlights the importance of the water conservation message.
“The impact is right there,” said Heidi Petruccelli, Senior Sales Executive at our Boston branch. “Now, every time a toilet is flushed at the park, it’s using half the amount of water it was using before. They’re easily going to save thousands of gallons of water.”

The new attraction at the Quassy Amusement Park & Waterpark in Middlebury, Connecticut, isn’t an adrenaline-pumping coaster or a twisting-and-turning water slide; it’s the park’s remodeled restrooms. The mission: to dramatically reduce water usage amidst the park’s growing attendance.

A winter revamp of the main restrooms left the 3.5 gallon per flush (gpf) toilets behind in favor of our 1.28 gpf models and included an upgrade to more water-efficient urinals, too.

That’s something we’ll wait in line for.

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Put it in park, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Our new fleet of tractor trailers can out-perform even these NASCAR heavyweights thanks to cutting-edge automatic transmissions that are…actually better for the environment?The innovative technology automatically shifts gears based on the truck’s fuel efficiency and power needs, meaning vehicles are running as efficiently as possible and drivers can stay focused on the road.
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We knew we needed to wave the green flag to more efficient vehicles, and this new fleet is significantly more high-tech and less gas-guzzling than the last (not to mention it reduces CO2 emissions by 11.4 percent, or 875 metric tons, per year).
One of our must-haves was a fleet that would allow us to consistently obtain better fuel mileage. From the old fleet to the new, we’ve increased the mpg by 16 percent (a big deal for tractor trailers).
It almost feels like we’re taking a victory lap here.
Much of this fuel efficiency results from the automatic transmission, but additional contributors include improved aerodynamics (even on the mirrors) and aluminum wheels rather than steel (allowing the truck to carry 1,000 more pounds in every trailer and reducing the number of necessary trips).
There’s also a small auxiliary power unit (APU) in each cab that allows it to be heated or cooled while the driver is resting without having to keep the main engine running.
And on top of that, we participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Program (run by the same EPA group as WaterSense). As SmartWay-certified shippers and carriers – and with the decals on our tractors to prove it – we can tangibly visualize our commitment to more fuel-efficient transportation methods.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve never felt better about starting our engines.

Put it in park, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Our new fleet of tractor trailers can out-perform even these NASCAR heavyweights thanks to cutting-edge automatic transmissions that are…actually better for the environment?

The innovative technology automatically shifts gears based on the truck’s fuel efficiency and power needs, meaning vehicles are running as efficiently as possible and drivers can stay focused on the road.

Continue reading

Associates from our India Faucet Operations (IFO) in Jhagadia recently branched out from their traditional workdays to spruce up the facility’s sustainability factor (as well as its landscaping).
Nearly 100 associates teamed up to plant 150 trees on World Environment Day, an annual event organized by the United Nations to foster global environmental awareness and encourage more sustainable actions.
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For this team, digging in the dirt on World Environment Day is a perennial celebration. They’ve been planting trees each June 5 since IFO’s inception four years ago.
“We want to create awareness to the associates toward protection of the environment and preservation of natural resources,” said Hitesh Mistry, Manager – Environment, Health and Safety. “And planting trees is a must if we want to save our planet.”
Not only will these neem and rain seedlings grow to remove harmful chemicals from the soil, but they’ll also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Oh, and they won’t make the views from our building half bad either.

Associates from our India Faucet Operations (IFO) in Jhagadia recently branched out from their traditional workdays to spruce up the facility’s sustainability factor (as well as its landscaping).

Nearly 100 associates teamed up to plant 150 trees on World Environment Day, an annual event organized by the United Nations to foster global environmental awareness and encourage more sustainable actions.

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We strive for smart design and exceptional quality. We want our customers to equate the KOHLER® brand with reliable, long-lasting, efficient products, and so before we send them to the market, we test them…a lot.

It’s quite the aquatic conundrum: our test lab needs to use water to ensure we’re delivering the best products to our customers, but we’re also committed to conserving our resources. What’s a test lab to do?

As Lab Supervisor Tony Reis will tell you, it’s all about the little things: “We’re minimizing water usage through whatever means we can find.”

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An attention to detail and a thirst for more sustainable practices is leading Wisconsin Faucet Operations to overflow with water savings. With the installation of both a water-recovery system and conductivity meters, WFO is seeing an annual savings of nearly 40 percent of their water use, but it didn’t just happen overnight.
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Five years ago, the rinse tanks used to coat, clean and sanitize our newly made brass faucets and fittings ran at six gallons per minute, 24/7, regardless of the amount of product going through (if any at all). This water-intensive plating process needed to change.
That’s when that “aha!” moment came for associate Chris Wagner, Staff Chemist – Sustainability & Environment. Could we monitor how “dirty” a tank of water is before we refilled it? The answer was “yes,” and it came in the form of a conductivity meter.
The meters measure how many ions are in each rinse tank’s water; and as the free ions get higher (and the rinses dirtier), the conductivity rises. When the conductivity reaches a certain level, the meters are set to replenish the rinse tanks with new water that mixes with the existing solution. As the solution gets cleaner, the conductivity decreases and the water shuts off.
Fast-forward to today. Because of these meters, Wagner and crew can proudly boast that nearly 30 percent of their water savings are due to these meters (nearly 30 of them).
“You can’t just put the meter on and save 30 percent of your water,” Wagner said. The meters require some expertise to install, along with calibration and maintenance, but he encourages facilities to explore whether this water-saving effort is feasible for them, too.
In addition to meters, the WFO team is constantly tweaking its water-recovery system. Here, used water is pumped into the system and then reused in plating rinse tanks, increasing the percentage of our freshwater savings.
“We used to just use an enormous amount of water for the production we were doing,” Wagner said. “Now we’re seeing continual savings year after year.”

An attention to detail and a thirst for more sustainable practices is leading Wisconsin Faucet Operations to overflow with water savings. With the installation of both a water-recovery system and conductivity meters, WFO is seeing an annual savings of nearly 40 percent of their water use, but it didn’t just happen overnight.

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Sustainability is in Christian Wagner’s genes…and inside, on top of and around his home. A training specialist at Kohler Mira in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, U.K., Wagner’s eco-focus began when he was a child, spurring from his father’s efforts to reduce energy consumption while living in the humid tropics of Malaysia.
Like father, like son.
Wagner’s current dwellings – a house he renovated in Cheltenham and one he built on an island off the West coast of Scotland – all but have the word sustainability etched into their floorboards.     
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Some highlights:
The Cheltenham home features computer controlled radiators that result in massive energy savings, as well as induction cooking (“cooking by magnetism”) that delivers three times the amount of energy as gas but at a cooler surface temp and without the carbon monoxide emissions.
No gas on the island means the Scottish abode really relies on its assets. Take its air source heat pump, for example. The pump “harvests” energy from the air, delivering 4kW of hot water energy for every 1kW used to run the unit.
No, Wagner doesn’t have a fancy degree in conservation or efficiency; this believing in better aficionado admits he learns it all from the internet.
He sees the movement and momentum growing…including at the office. A company video that features him talking about his homes is increasingly drawing enthusiastic intrigue from colleagues.
While some years ago he was considered “off the wall” and a “tree hugger,” more of those early skeptics are turning to these technologies as they see budgets tighten.
Wagner says he’s happy to share what he’s learned (and bookmarked on his browser): “I try to talk from the heart using personal experiences. I’m not an expert, but I am enthusiastic and passionate.”

Sustainability is in Christian Wagner’s genes…and inside, on top of and around his home. A training specialist at Kohler Mira in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, U.K., Wagner’s eco-focus began when he was a child, spurring from his father’s efforts to reduce energy consumption while living in the humid tropics of Malaysia.

Like father, like son.

Wagner’s current dwellings – a house he renovated in Cheltenham and one he built on an island off the West coast of Scotland – all but have the word sustainability etched into their floorboards.     

Continue reading