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2014 WaterSense Partners of the Year
On October 9, 2014, the 2014 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award winner, Partners of the Year, and Excellence Award winners were announced at the WaterSense and Alliance for Water Efficiency Awards Luncheon. The luncheon was held at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition .
Since the program's inception in 2006, WaterSense labeled products have helped Americans save 757 billion gallons of water and $14.2 billion in water and energy bills. In 2013 alone, WaterSense labeled products saved 271 billion gallons of water, a 35 percent increase from the amount saved last year! Working collaboratively, WaterSense partners continue to build strong communities and help consumers save water, energy, and money.
For the second year in a row, WaterSense awards its highest level of recognition, a Sustained Excellence Award, to a partner that continues its exemplary efforts to advance WaterSense and water efficiency.
WaterSense recognizes nine WaterSense Partners of the Year for helping to promote WaterSense and water efficiency throughout 2013. The winners are:
- Cobb County (Georgia) Water System
- Colorado Springs Utilities (Colorado)
- Delta Faucet Company
- HydroPoint Data Systems
- The Home Depot
- KB Home
- Energy Inspectors Corporation
- The Irrigation Association
- The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership
Also, WaterSense honors partners who demonstrate both commitment and success in a specific area with Excellence Awards. In 2013, the following organizations excelled in the following areas:
For Excellence in Outreach and Education:
- Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Public Utilities Department
- San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
- Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas
For Excellence in Strategic Collaboration:
- Denver Water
For Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products:
- Puget Sound Energy (Washington)
Learn about the Sustained Excellence, Partners of the Year and Excellence Award winners' accomplishments (PDF) (7 pg, 1.94MB), read the EPA press release, and view photos from the 2012 Awards Luncheon.
2014 Sustained Excellence Award Winner:
Kohler is WaterSense’s first two-time Sustained Excellence Award winner! Throughout 2013, the company continued demonstrate their dedication to water efficiency by promoting WaterSense labeled products with new, innovative technologies and campaigns. For example, Kohler developed a dual-flush trip lever for tank-type toilets that makes selecting a smaller flush easier for those with dexterity challenges, as well as launched their impressive “Trust the Flush” mobile marketing campaign. The cross-country bus tour, which showcased the performance of WaterSense labeled toilets at more than 185 events, also highlighted Kohler’s ability to strategically collaborate with multiple WaterSense partners to further elevate the success of the campaign.
The company did not stop there in their efforts to increase public awareness of WaterSense labeled products. Kohler provided WaterSense labeled products for the Green Builder Media’s VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida, which was visited by more than 200,000 people. Kohler also donated WaterSense labeled products and design support to the California Institute of Technology’s entry for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge that funds projects addressing health and sanitation issues in developing countries. In addition to all of these initiatives, Kohler’s marketing and social media presence via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest contributed to millions of WaterSense labeled toilets, bathroom faucets, and showerheads being sold in 2013.
2014 Promotional Partner of the Year:
Cobb County Water System
In Georgia, Cobb County Water System’s comprehensive approach to promoting WaterSense in 2013 earned the utility its third WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year Award and translated into measurable water savings. Despite adding approximately 100,000 Atlanta metropolitan area customers in 2013, Cobb County’s annual average daily water use decreased by 10 million gallons per day compared to 2010. A portion of these savings can be attributed to Cobb County’s successful toilet rebate program, which rebated more than 2,500 WaterSense labeled models in 2013 alone.
The utility used a variety of venues to communicate water efficiency messages to the community. The new Water $aver quarterly e-newsletter and social media presence in 2013 helped promote WaterSense, its campaigns, and popular WaterSense hashtags, such as #showerbetter and #fixaleak. The utility leveraged waterSmart, its joint communications program with Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, to reach an even larger audience with WaterSense messaging. In 2013, the program transitioned October from waterSmart Month to Shower Better Month to promote the water- and energy-saving benefits of WaterSense labeled showerheads.
"When we train a professional, we have magnified our message. They then carry that information forward and find a way to embrace efficiency as a best business practice instead of a roadblock."
Senior Project Manager
Cobb County Water System
Cobb County celebrated Fix a Leak Week 2013 by partnering with other regional water providers and WaterSense partners on the first annual Water Drop Dash 5-kilometer (5K) race and Water Festival. Staff distributed water efficiency kits containing WaterSense labeled showerheads and faucet aerators to nearly 400 runners and their families. Inspired by WaterSense’s Sprinkler Spruce-Up campaign, Cobb County also worked with fellow WaterSense partners Ewing Irrigation and Rainbird to educate landscape professionals through hands-on trainings with an operable display of WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers.
Colorado Springs Utilities
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) in Colorado, a two-time WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year, helped local home and business owners significantly reduce their water use in 2013 through education and WaterSense labeled product rebates. By supplying 7,268 WaterSense labeled product rebates and retrofits to informed consumers, the utility saved an estimated 80 million gallons of water in 2013.
CSU’s Conservation and Environmental Center houses the WaterSense Showcase and serves as a centerpiece for its outreach efforts hosting more than 20,000 visitors per year. The showcase displays fully functioning WaterSense labeled products; a one-gallon water jug savings comparison between labeled products and less efficient fixtures; and facts about the water, energy, and cost savings achieved with WaterSense labeled products. The center promoted Fix a Leak Week by hosting an open house featuring a showerhead “free-bate” program, experts on water efficiency, and kids’ activities.
"We are so glad to utilize the WaterSense program. It contributes to the success of our conservation goals, helping everyone save water, energy, and money—a true example of win-win."
Senior Conservation Specialist
Colorado Springs Utilities
CSU ramped up its WaterSense labeled new homes promotion in 2013. Its WaterSense New Homes Builder Incentive Program provided local builders a $750 rebate per labeled home. To recruit participants, staff met individually with builders to introduce the rebate program; connect them with licensed certification providers; and explain how builders, buyers, and sellers can find WaterSense labeled products using CSU’s Multiple Listings Service Green Features Addendum. The utility also collaborated with the Colorado Springs Home Builders Association’s 2013 Parade of Homes to showcase models using WaterSense labeled products.
2014 Manufacturer Partner of the Year:
Delta Faucet Company (Large Manufacturer)
A three-time Manufacturer Partner of the Year, Delta Faucet Company demonstrated its commitment to WaterSense through online and in-person promotions. The Delta brand online faucet video gallery featured 16 clips with WaterSense labeled faucet models, and its Brizio brand website had five videos highlighting WaterSense labeled products.
The company promoted WaterSense labeled products through its continued primary sponsorship of HGTV’s Dream Home Sweepstakes in 2013. In addition, the company’s Brizio brand continued its water-efficient support for the St. Jude Dream Home by donating WaterSense labeled products to 28 homes that have received more than 80,000 visitors.
In 2013, Delta continued to work with the Hospitality Sustainability Purchasing Consortium to ensure that the hospitality industry’s sustainability performance standards aligned with WaterSense specifications for applicable product categories. The consortium’s Web-based purchasing database researches, measures, and reports on the corporate social responsibility, environmental, and product sustainability performance of suppliers. Delta expanded this effort to other multifamily residential sectors in 2013 by promoting the benefits of WaterSense labeled bathroom faucets and showerheads to builders and developers.
HydroPoint Data Systems (Small Manufacturer)
HydroPoint Data Systems showcased its product innovation in 2013. Its WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers were enhanced with computer-generated climate models that deliver daily local weather data that better calculate and deliver the right amount of water to landscapes. The company’s efforts led to big savings—with more than 25,000 users of WaterSense Hydropoint controllers saving 20 billion gallons of water in 2013 alone.
In 2013, the manufacturer released a Water Budget Manager tool that offers customers simple real-time visibility, tracking and reporting of a site’s water consumption and water bill dollars. HydroPoint also introduced a tool to give landscape irrigation professionals the ability to identify leaks or line breaks before they worsen.
"For us, this award represents a real turning point in the market where outdoor irrigation is being recognized as a major conservation opportunity. We're living in a new era of scarcity where water waste cannot be ignored any longer."
President and CEO
HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc.
Throughout 2013, HydroPoint continuously collaborated with local water agencies and municipalities to establish and promote more than 200 rebate programs through its website. The manufacturer strongly encouraged these agencies to only rebate WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers. The company highlighted WaterSense and labeled irrigation controllers in more than 40 marketing campaigns and 10 press releases. HydroPoint also promoted outdoor water efficiency and WaterSense at several conferences and trade events in 2013, including WaterSmart Innovations, the International Council of Shopping Association’s Green conference.
2014 Retailer Partner of the Year:
The Home Depot
For the second consecutive year, The Home Depot earned the Retailer Partner of the Year award for its dedication to promoting WaterSense to both its employees and customers nationwide. The Home Depot worked extensively with water utilities across the country to support rebate programs for WaterSense labeled toilets, showerheads, and irrigation controllers. As a result, it helped consumers achieve more than $36 million in product markdowns—a 9 percent increase compared to 2012. In 2013, The Home Depot’s online and in-store WaterSense labeled product inventory increased by 36 percent, including products sold through YourOtherWarehouse.com, an online plumbing supply warehouse featuring more than 2,500 WaterSense labeled models.
The Home Depot collaborated with other WaterSense partners to promote campaigns, like Fix a Leak Week. The company joined forces with the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, a fellow WaterSense partner, to co-sponsor the Atlanta utility’s inaugural Water Drop Dash 5K promoting Fix a Leak Week. The Home Depot adapted WaterSense’s “Dreaming of a Better Bathroom” messaging to launch two independent campaigns encouraging customers to build a “better” bathroom with WaterSense labeled products. Campaign workshops attracted nearly 160,000 attendees. Staff also promoted the cost-saving benefits of WaterSense labeled products at the 2013 Earth Day Celebration in New York City with a new “money pit” display.
To keep up with smartphone technology, The Home Depot launched a Pro Mobile Web application. The app allows thousands of professional plumbers and contractors to easily educate their customers about WaterSense labeled products directly from their job sites.
2014 Builder Partner of the Year:
KB Home’s fourth consecutive WaterSense Builder Partner of the Year award demonstrates its tried-and-true commitment to building water-efficient communities across the country. In 2013, KB Home constructed 60 KB Homes that met the WaterSense new home specification at communities in California and Texas.
In 2013, the builder brought San Marcos, California, its first WaterSense labeled new home using its ZeroHouse 2.0 model. The house is designed to achieve net-zero energy use and the highest levels of resource efficiency with the help of WaterSense labeled products. To further showcase its water efficiency innovation, KB Home introduced the Double ZeroHouse 2.0 concept. When fully constructed in 2014, a Double ZeroHouse 2.0 home will include pre-plumbing for greywater recycling systems, water- and energy-efficient dishwashers, and a tankless water heater.
To support the construction of new water-efficient communities, KB Home implemented extensive training initiatives in 2013 to educate its employees about WaterSense labeled products and new homes. Various teams of sales counselors and inspectors learned how to communicate the benefits of WaterSense labeled products to home buyers. Landscape contractors and irrigation installers who work on KB Homes are also required to review and implement water-efficient practices from KB Home’s landscaping guide.
2014 Licensed Certification Provider Partner of the Year:
Energy Inspectors Corporation
Two–time WaterSense Licensed Certification Provider Partner of the Year, Energy Inspectors Corporation demonstrated strong collaboration with WaterSense builder partners throughout 2013. The company teamed up with 2014 WaterSense Builder Partner of the Year, KB Home, to educate homeowners about the benefits of water efficiency and expand the market for WaterSense labeled new homes. Energy Inspectors inspected more than 50 WaterSense labeled new homes built by KB Home in 2013, and the two solidified plans to construct and inspect 541 additional WaterSense labeled models in 2014.
To ensure its inspectors are up to the challenge, Energy Inspectors continued its hands-on training process in 2013. Trainees must perform a full inspection on a model home to ensure that it meets the WaterSense criteria indoors and out. The company also began developing a training video for new and existing inspectors to maintain their WaterSense knowledge.
2014 Professional Certifying Organization Partners of the Year:
Two-time WaterSense Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the Year, the Irrigation Association (IA) showed no signs of slowing down in 2013. Its WaterSense specification development support, campaign promotions, and certified irrigation professional recruitment efforts exemplified its dedication to the WaterSense mission. The organization supported changes to the WaterSense professional certifying organization program and educated professionals certified by its WaterSense labeled programs about the changes. IA also submitted testing protocols to WaterSense for weather-based irrigation controllers and soil moisture-based control technologies to assist with the product categories’ specification development processes.
To promote the benefits of working with certified irrigation professionals, IA rolled out its Hire Certified campaign, which encouraged consumers to look for certified professionals to save water outdoors. Staff went even further to raise awareness about outdoor water-efficiency by cross-promoting WaterSense’s Sprinkler Spruce-Up campaign with its Smart Irrigation Month campaign to more than 14,000 contacts through a mass email effort. The organization’s IA Times monthly e-newsletter also promoted Sprinkler Spruce-Up to members.
Staff also engaged irrigation professionals and contractors about WaterSense and the benefits of professional certification through “Point of Connection” sessions held in conjunction with the annual Irrigation Show. Another initiative, “Turf Talk,” provided irrigation professionals with an interactive peer-to-peer experience that focused on sales strategies, marketing, and water-efficient landscapes, as well as helped foster new ideas.
Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership
The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (SMSWP) in California went above and beyond in 2013 to promote the value of professional certification programs and importance of selecting the right professional to achieve a water-efficient landscape. The organization promoted the WaterSense labeled Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) program to interested regional stakeholders and encouraged them to become professional certifying organization partners with WaterSense. In 2013, QWEL was adopted by one new certifying organization, and nearly 200 irrigation professionals were certified through all 10 QWEL programs.
In 2013, SMSWP expanded its outreach of the QWEL program. The QWEL website was completely redesigned to prominently feature the WaterSense label and make finding a certified irrigation professional easier. In addition, all QWEL advertising featured the WaterSense label and aimed to encourage homeowners to hire QWEL graduates and to increase awareness of the importance of water efficiency. SMSWP also offered a Spanish-language QWEL program. It was promoted at 24 community events and through live and prerecorded radio interviews aired on three local radio stations.
In 2013, SMSWP’s print, radio, email, and online outreach focused on the 20-Gallon Challenge, encouraging Californians to reduce their water use by 20 gallons per person per day. Outreach efforts targeted both consumers and landscape professionals.
About the Awards Program
Launched in 2008, the WaterSense Partners of the Year awards program recognizes WaterSense partners who:
- Help advance the overall mission of WaterSense
- Increase awareness of the WaterSense brand in a measurable way
- Increase the adoption of water-efficient practices among their constituents or community
Each year, WaterSense Partners of the Year contribute to the program's success by enhancing the market for water–efficient products, practices, and services. Learn what previous WaterSense Partners of the Year have done to increase water efficiency and promote the WaterSense label within their respective partner categories.