We spend a lot of time dreaming about, designing and manufacturing faucets, but we know there are places around the world where the mere act of turning one on isn’t an option.
To help combat this startling reality, a handful of our associates (active members of our Innovation for Good committee) recently donated their engineering expertise to a water filtration project for Safe Water Kenya, part of the Michigan nonprofit Safe Water Team, Inc. Specifically, our team’s challenge was to improve upon the BioSand water filtration units the group deploys to villages throughout the East African country.
The year was 1977.
Thirty-seven years ago, our innovative, water-efficient toilets certainly used more gallons of water than our 1.28 gallons per flush products do today (we’re looking at you, retro 3.5 gpf toilets). But as this ad demonstrates, when it comes to thinking sustainably, this was our passion before it was “cool.”
Now, about those bell bottoms and big hair…
A smartphone isn’t the only device getting smarter; thanks to a team of Kohler engineers, the engine that powers some commercial lawnmowers is increasing its IQ, too, trimming the amount of fuel used and greenhouse gas emissions.
While waste is inherently unamazing, we can do some pretty amazing things with it to make the world a better place. (Take this, this and this, for example.) But the ideas themselves don’t just rise up out of the dumpster. Enter: our amazing, inspired associates.
Most recently, associates in our Shanghai office wasted no time donning their (metaphorical) thinking caps and putting their sustainability knowledge to the test as part of the weeklong unAmazing Waste competition. The friendly contest challenged associates to identify company-produced wastes and to brainstorm ways to avoid sending them to the landfill.
The competition’s been done in North America, and there are plans to roll it out in other China and Asia Pacific plants, too.
What we’ve found? The landfill has nothing on a collective group of inspired people who are believing in better.
We believe a work environment that’s good for the earth can be equally as good for the soul…
The Kohler India Technical Center (ITC) in Pune was created to provide a more spacious, sustainable workplace for associates outgrowing the old technical facility. This new area – a build-out of a floor in an existing office building – recently became LEED-Gold certified for commercial interiors.
But Mother Earth isn’t the only one reaping the benefits; we’re feeling pretty good ourselves.
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.
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.
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.