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WaterSense 2012 Partners of the Year

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2012 WaterSense Partners of the Year

WaterSense 2012 partner of the year

On October 4, 2012, EPA announced the 2012 WaterSense Partners of the Year and Excellence Award winners at the WaterSense and Alliance for Water Efficiency Awards Luncheon. The luncheon was held at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Expo.

Since the launch of WaterSense in 2006, WaterSense labeled products have helped Americans save $4.7 billion in water and energy bills and 287 billion gallons of water. That's due to the efforts of more than 2,600 WaterSense partners who have brought more than 5,000 different models of WaterSense labeled products to market and educated thousands of consumers on the benefits of WaterSense labeled products, new homes and services.

The 2012 Partners of the Year represent the best of WaterSense's partners. Each winner made great strides in increasing water efficiency and awareness of the WaterSense label across the country. And the winners are…

WaterSense Excellence Awards recognize a second group of partners whose efforts demonstrated both commitment and success in a specific Partner of the Year evaluation category. Excellence Awards acknowledge partners who helped WaterSense meet our objectives and supported our campaigns. This year, the following organizations excelled in the following areas:

For Excellence in Fix a Leak Week Activities:

  • Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA)
  • New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (NMOSE)

For Excellence in Education and Outreach:

  • American Water

For Excellence in Strategic Collaboration:

  • Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE)

For Excellence in Employee Education:

  • The Home Depot

Learn about the Partners of the Year and Excellence Award winners' accomplishments (PDF) (5 pp, 1.1MB), read the EPA press release, and view photos from the 2012 Awards Luncheon.

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2012 Promotional Partner of the Year:

Colorado Spring Utilities

Colorado Springs Utilities (Colorado)

As many WaterSense partners know, collaboration among utilities and other entities can take water-efficiency efforts to new heights. A team effort led by Colorado Springs Utilities Exit EPA Disclaimer, along with local builder Wayne Intermill, EnergyLogic, Inc., and 2008 WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year Ferguson Enterprises, resulted in the first WaterSense labeled home in Colorado and the six-state EPA Region 8. Colorado Springs Utilities supported the project from start to finish, introducing Mr. Intermill to the WaterSense new homes program at a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) meeting and coordinating with the building suppliers and certification provider to ensure that the products and inspection would meet WaterSense criteria. During the three-week 2011 Parade of Homes, 5,000 visitors explored the WaterSense labeled home, which also became the first home to receive LEED® for Homes certification, ENERGY STAR® qualification, and the WaterSense label.

In 2011, Colorado Springs Utilities also engaged consumers and local businesses in the water efficiency movement by offering them personalized ways to get involved. The organization's YOUtilities YouTube video contest inspired customers to document the ways in which they save water and energy at home. The contest, which aimed to create consumer advocates for water-efficient products and practices, produced a number of entertaining and informative videos for the community to enjoy.

The utility also helped hundreds of commercial kitchens save water by offering them free, water-efficient pre-rinse spray valve nozzles for cleaning dishes. A Colorado Springs Utilities team visited nearly all of the participating kitchens to demonstrate how the nozzles function, gauge the businesses' satisfaction with the products, and offer advice on additional water-efficient upgrades. The commercial retrofit program helped facilities save more than 20 million gallons of water in 2011, or one-third of the Utilities' annual water savings goal. The program also generated goodwill among business owners who saved on water, energy, and wastewater costs and provided the WaterSense Pre-Rinse Spray Valve Task Force with valuable feedback.

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2012 Manufacturer Partners of the Year:

This year, WaterSense is recognizing two Manufacturer Partners of the Year.

American Standard Brands

American Standard Brands

From March to November 2011, the American Standard Responsible Bathroom Tour crossed the country, offering hands-on product demonstrations of WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets, and showerheads at more than 100 plumbing wholesale supply firms and teaming up with 13 local utilities to promote local rebate programs along the way. For those who missed the chance to experience the water-efficient bathroom on wheels, a free Responsible Bathroom smart phone application provides water conservation decision-making tools, facts, and information. The app allows users to calculate the cost savings of different plumbing products and water-efficient behaviors.

Off the road, American Standard Exit EPA Disclaimer pursued other collaborative efforts to educate a wider audience on the benefits of WaterSense labeled products and water-efficient behaviors. American Standard, two-time WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year Cobb County Water System, and Georgia's first Licensed Green Plumber® hosted a two-hour "Go Green and Save Green" workshop in association with WaterSense's Fix a Leak Week and St. Patrick's Day, educating attendees on how to check for leaks and install water-efficient products. American Standard also partnered with the Green Education Foundation to create a new K-12 curriculum that helps students learn about sustainable building, ecology, and the environment, in addition to encouraging the foundation to partner with WaterSense.


American Standard introduced a WaterSense labeled "no tools" toilet in 2011. This SAVERTM toilet is designed to be installed with simple hand tightening; everything needed to install it comes right in the box. The simple, illustrated step-by-step instructions help novices to install a new WaterSense labeled toilet. The company also continues to support both consumer and professional audiences with its light-hearted but informative Professor Toilet blog. The nearly 20,000 unique visitors to the site in 2011 are a testament to how a blog offering a little humor and a lot of great information can make an impact.

Kohler Co.

Kohler Co

Three-time WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year and two-time WaterSense Excellence Award winner Kohler Co. Exit EPA Disclaimer knows that wasting water is just plain weird. That is why the company teamed up with three-time WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year Lowe's, Bosch Home Appliances, Procter & Gamble, the Shelton Group, and WaterSense to launch a public service announcement (PSA) campaign called "Wasting Water Is Weird." The central campaign figure, "Rip the Drip," showed up in people's homes when they wasted water to remind them just how weird it is to use more water than you need. The campaign struck a positive, humorous tone and was splashed across a number of media platforms, including video PSAs for broadcast outlets, a website, social media, and outdoor and online advertising.

Kohler continued to pursue partnerships with water utilities, retailers, and professional, technical, and trade organizations in 2011 to promote WaterSense labeled products and water-efficient practices. The company's partnership with Habitat for Humanity resulted in the installation of WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets, and showerheads in 550 Habitat homes in California and Texas, while its partnership with 2011 WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year The Home Depot increased consumer awareness of the features and benefits of WaterSense labeled products. The two companies launched an in-store tool to help consumers and professional installers identify products that earn points in USGBC's LEED for Homes rating system, collaborated on a larger-than-life Earth Day celebration in New York City's Times Square, and offered displays and presentations to customers in drought-ridden Texas to direct them to water-efficient products available on The Home Depot's shelves.

Kohler also ensured that consumers across the country had access to innovative, high-performing, and water-efficient products. Kohler introduced 40 new WaterSense labeled toilet models to the North American market in 2011, including the most water-efficient dual-flush toilet in Kohler's history. The company's stock of lavatory faucets and urinal fixtures is made up of nearly 100 percent WaterSense labeled models, while the number of its WaterSense labeled showerhead models more than doubled last year. With the introduction of Kohler's Katalyst technology, which combines air injection with a unique flow design, consumers can enjoy a luxurious showering experience while using less water.

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2012 Retail/Distributor Partner of the Year:

Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Lowe's never stop improving

In a 2011 address, Lowe's Companies, Inc. Exit EPA Disclaimer Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock credited WaterSense and other government resource efficiency programs for helping ensure the company's future in a constantly evolving marketplace. Lowe's support for the WaterSense program proved equally vital to the effective promotion of WaterSense labeled products and water-efficient practices last year. Through the success of a broad range of marketing activities and strategic partnerships, Lowe's earned the 2012 WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year award—its third in the past four years—while helping customers save about four billion gallons of water in 2011.

WaterSense was a central theme of the Lowe's Efficient Home marketing campaign, which emphasized a "save energy, save water, save money" message. Through this campaign, Lowe's educated customers about the WaterSense label and helped them identify WaterSense labeled products at the point of sale. To increase the impact of the campaign, Lowe's trained sales associates to engage customers about the money- and water-saving benefits of WaterSense labeled products and introduced revised signage and in-store display packages that presented WaterSense labeled products as a way to both save water and lower utility bills. Lowe's also collaborated with several utility partners on in-store events that advertised rebates on WaterSense labeled products.

Outside its stores, Lowe's partnered with a number of WaterSense stakeholders to promote the WaterSense program. Lowe's supported the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association's inaugural Fix a Leak Week activities and provided complimentary gift cards to the winners of the four-mile "We're for Water: Join the Chase" race. Lowe's also worked with the Shelton Group, Kohler Co., Bosch Home Appliances, and Procter and Gamble to launch the "Wasting Water is Weird" campaign. The campaign featured three PSA television spots, outdoor billboards and signs, an educational website, and a social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and digital display ads.

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2012 Builder Partner of the Year:

KB Home

KB Homes

Two-time WaterSense Builder Partner of the Year KB Home Exit EPA Disclaimer continued to break new ground in 2011 when it came to incorporating WaterSense labeled products into its new construction and earning the WaterSense label for many of its new homes. KB Home also communicated the value of WaterSense to industry stakeholders, homebuyers, and its employees through a variety of internal and external channels.

In 2011, KB Home built nearly 100 WaterSense labeled new homes in five communities in Northern California, Central Texas, and Central Florida. The company was also responsible for a series of construction projects that pushed the limits of sustainable building while earning the WaterSense label. The KB Home GreenHouse,™ an Idea Home created with Martha Stewart, was a concept home designed to achieve net-zero energy use and the highest levels of resource efficiency. The net-zero energy use concept then became a reality with KB Home ZeroHouse 2.0 models in Tampa, Florida, and Austin and San Antonio, Texas. These models showcase KB Home's net-zero energy use options, which are now available at select communities across the country. The ZeroHouse models in Austin and San Antonio also earned the WaterSense label.

To ensure that its homes were water-efficient inside and out, KB Home worked extensively with Hunter Industries to develop a weather-based irrigation system option for homebuyers making their selections at the KB Home Studio. KB Home also encouraged Hunter to follow WaterSense specification criteria for weather-based irrigation controllers in order to earn the WaterSense label for its products.

All new KB Home employees are required to take a "My Home. My Earth." training course as part of their new-hire orientation. Employees must pass a certification test on the features and benefits of WaterSense labeled products and new homes. Employee groups, such as sales counselors and the KB Home studio team, complete additional training so they can explain the benefits of water-efficient landscaping packages, weather-based irrigation controllers, and hot-water recirculation systems to homebuyers.

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About the Awards Program

Learn more about the WaterSense Awards Program, including information about past winners.

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