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2013 WaterSense Partners of the Year
On October 3, 2013, the 2013 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award winners, 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 487 billion gallons of water and $8.9 billion in water and energy bills. In 2012 alone, WaterSense labeled products saved 202 billion gallons of water, nearly doubling the amount saved in all previous years! Working collaboratively, WaterSense partners continue to drive innovation in manufacturing and support sustainable jobs for American workers, all while helping consumers save water, energy, and money.
New this year, WaterSense is acknowledging two partners who have received repeated recognition for their exemplary efforts with its first–ever Sustained Excellence Awards. To qualify for a Sustained Excellence Award, a partner must have won three WaterSense Partner of the Year awards in the past five years, and must have applied each of those years.
WaterSense is pleased to recognize seven WaterSense Partners of the Year for helping to advance and promote WaterSense and water efficiency throughout 2012. The winners are:
- Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department
- Delta Faucet Company (Large Manufacturer)
- Niagara Conservation Corp. (Small Manufacturer)
- The Home Depot
- KB Home
- Irrigation Association
- John Taylor
- About the Awards Program
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 supported our campaigns and helped WaterSense meet our objectives. This year, the following organizations excelled in the following areas:
For Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products:
- City of Boulder Public Works/Utilities, Colorado
For Excellence in Strategic Collaboration:
- Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado
For Excellence in Outreach and Education:
- Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
- Town of Sharon, Massachusetts
For Excellence in Promotion:
- Sonoma–Marin Water Saving Partnership, California
For Excellence in Construction of Affordable WaterSense Labeled New Homes:
- Habitat For Humanity of Metro Denver, Colorado
Learn about the Partners of the Year and Excellence Award winners' accomplishments (PDF) (6 pp, 1.74MB) and read the EPA press release. Check back soon to view photos from the 2013 Awards Luncheon.
2013 Sustained Excellence Award Winners:
As a three–time WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year and two–time WaterSense Excellence Award winner, Kohler Co. sustained water efficiency efforts have evolved into a multifaceted, one–stop–shop website for those interested in curbing their water waste. SaveWaterAmerica.com features WaterSense labeled products, consumer tips to save water, and a calculator that allows consumers to easily estimate the savings achieved by WaterSense labeled products.
Kohler's efforts to promote WaterSense weren't limited to just one website. In 2012, the company's social media team promoted the benefits of WaterSense labeled products to nearly 500,000 Facebook fans and more than 40,000 Twitter followers. On YouTube, Kohler brought water-saving products to digital life in educational videos that drew the attention of more than 1 million online viewers. Keeping its WaterSense-related media activities diverse and widespread, Kohler also garnered 127 print placements and 50 television hits.
In addition to online promotions, social media outreach, and traditional advertising, the company's presence at conferences, trade shows, and industry events helped keep the WaterSense brand in the spotlight across the country. In 2012, Kohler featured WaterSense labeled products in its booths at such events as the International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida; the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Chicago; and Greenbuild in San Francisco. Kohler also participated in The Home Depot's 2012 Earth Day Celebration in New York City, where its team took big water savings to the Big Apple by demonstrating the flushing performance of a WaterSense labeled toilet in the middle of Times Square to thousands of consumers.
Lowe's Companies, Inc.
A three–time Retailer Partner of the Year and 2011 Excellence Award winner, Lowe's Companies, Inc. showed no signs of slowing down in 2012. Once again, Lowe's efforts to promote WaterSense labeled products, educate consumers, and participate in marketing campaigns across the country contributed to the success of the WaterSense program.
Last year, Lowe's significantly increased the number of WaterSense labeled showerheads it carries and ensured all lavatory faucets in Lowe's stores were WaterSense labeled. As part of its continued efforts to broaden its promotional outreach, Lowe's developed a smartphone application that employees can use to find rebates for customers interested in WaterSense labeled products. It also increased accessibility to WaterSense labeled models by leveraging bilingual product information on Lowes.com.
In addition to its in–store and online product promotions, Lowe’s worked closely with the Wyland Foundation, a fellow WaterSense partner, to spearhead the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation; sponsored the Arizona Municipal Water Users race during Fix a Leak Week 2012; and supported WaterSense’s Shower Better campaign by teaming up with WaterSense partners Moen Incorporated and Delta Faucet Company. As part of its Shower Better collaboration with Delta, Lowe's provided a 10 percent discount to consumers who purchased one of Delta's then newly released WaterSense labeled showerhead models.
2013 Promotional Partner of the Year:
Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department
The Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department in Georgia might only have two employees serving in its Water Conservation Office, but that didn't stop the utility from ramping up its WaterSense promotional efforts in a big way in 2012. Its website, ThinkattheSink.com, engages home and business owners on the importance of WaterSense labeled products and shares information on local water-smart landscaping workshops and more. In an effort to advance the WaterSense message to an even broader audience, Athens-Clarke County increased its social media presence and outreach efforts. Leveraging the utility's longtime friendship with WaterSense's spokesgallon, Flo, the utility's very own water conservation mascot Lily Anne Phibian provides daily water-saving guidance to children and the young at heart.
In support of Fix a Leak Week 2012, Athens-Clarke County celebrated by hosting a dozen presentations on finding and fixing leaks. The utility partnered with the University of Georgia to hold "Train the Trainer" workshops, which instructed volunteers on conducting water use audits; suggesting water efficiency tips to local residents and organizations; and distributing WaterSense labeled faucet aerators, showerheads, and toilets. The week culminated with the installation of WaterSense labeled fixtures in a community building, ultimately reducing the building's water use by 50 percent.
Athens-Clarke County also tackled larger buildings' water use with the launch of its pilot Commercial Water Conservation Program in conjunction with the Altamaha Riverkeeper Oconee Project. This program leveraged WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities to target high water-using restaurants in the area. After conducting water use audits at three local restaurants, WaterSense labeled products were recommended based on the results. The official Commercial Water Conservation Program will open to all of the restaurants in the county in winter 2013.
2013 Manufacturer Partner of the Year:
Delta Faucet Company (Large Manufacturer)
Now a two–time WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year, Delta Faucet Company’s continued efforts to support WaterSense labeled products and water efficiency is illustrated by its product inventory—100 percent of its lavatory faucets and showerheads have met EPA's efficiency and performance criteria. And in 2012, the company expanded its efforts by earning the label for its water-efficient toilets.
In addition to promoting WaterSense labeled products year-round, Delta launched a collaborative, coast-to-coast water efficiency campaign in celebration of Fix a Leak Week 2012. Teaming up with several utility partners in cities across the United States, the manufacturer donated its WaterSense labeled showerheads and worked with volunteers to install them and other water-saving products in nearly 2,000 housing units in 10 different cities. Delta's Fix a Leak Week efforts resulted in more than 7 million gallons in estimated annual water savings.
Delta also worked with WaterSense partners The Home Depot and Lowe's to promote water efficiency at various events. For the second year in a row, Delta participated in The Home Depot's Earth Day Celebration in Times Square by displaying WaterSense labeled faucets in the event's model home. Delta also teamed up with Lowe's during its 2012 Earth Day Weekend, staffing more than 150 of its stores with Delta employees and creating in-store displays that promoted WaterSense labeled products to consumers. What's more, Delta went above and beyond when it sponsored HGTV's Dream Home, which featured WaterSense labeled products throughout.
Niagara Conservation Corp. (Small Manufacturer)
Niagara Conservation Corp.’s company philosophy is to provide innovative products that conserve water without sacrificing performance. Ninety-six percent of its core product line of toilets, showerheads, and lavatory faucet accessories were WaterSense labeled in 2012—a nearly 10 percent increase compared to 2011. Through employee education, partner collaboration, and social media promotion, Niagara continued to demonstrate a strong commitment toward these reputable water-efficient products in 2012. Niagara also requires that its marketing staff become familiar with the WaterSense program and adhere to the latest WaterSense label use guidelines.
In 2012, with the help of utilities and trade partners such as Green Plumbers USA, Niagara took its corporate culture to new, water-efficient heights by rolling out Niagara Green City, a program that offers water- and energy-efficient products to consumers in an effort to build more sustainable communities. Niagara also created, and continues to develop, numerous conservation kits with WaterSense labeled products branded for utilities and plumbers to distribute throughout their communities to help consumers save water and energy.
In addition to its collaborative measures, the company implemented online and social media strategies to take Fix a Leak Week to the next level of creativity with a "Finding Flo" scavenger hunt. This unique children's activity raised awareness about wasting water while encouraging visitors to find the WaterSense spokesgallon.
2013 Retailer Partner of the Year:
The Home Depot
For the second consecutive year, The Home Depot was recognized as the WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year for demonstrating its devotion to promoting WaterSense throughout all of its U.S. stores to both shoppers and staff. Behind the scenes, Home Depot uses its Green Team Training Guide to educate store associates on the water-efficient products they sell. In the public eye, the retailer's "Eco Options" website helps consumers to find WaterSense labeled products, highlights the benefits of labeled products, and features water savings calculators. With more than 2.5 million hits in 2012 and counting, there's no question that the website has been successful in reaching consumers with the water efficiency message.
To increase public awareness of the WaterSense brand, The Home Depot promoted the We're for Water campaign and Fix a Leak Week 2012 through blogs, online banner ads, and several broadcast radio spots. The company supplemented its efforts by targeting professional contractors with educational resources on WaterSense labeled products. In turn, the contractors were able to effectively communicate the value of water-efficient products to homeowners and industry professionals through a variety of internal and external channels.
The Home Depot also partnered with other stakeholders, including manufacturers and utilities, to establish and support local rebates on WaterSense labeled products. As a result, customers benefitted from more than $33 million in product markdowns. The increased number of product incentives helped make possible a 7 percent sales increase in WaterSense labeled products in 2012—double the company average compared to previous years!
2013 Builder Partner of the Year:
KB Home earned its third consecutive Builder Partner of Year award by continuing to break new ground in 2012 with the construction of WaterSense labeled new homes. The company's commitment to sustainable building is exemplified by its ZeroHouse 2.0 model home constructed in the Washington, D.C., area in 2012. KB Home's ZeroHouse 2.0 model homes are designed to achieve net-zero energy use and the highest levels of resource efficiency with the help of WaterSense labeled products. The company has also earned the WaterSense label for ZeroHouse 2.0 homes in Texas, Florida, and California.
Along with constructing new homes, KB Home consistently promoted WaterSense and water efficiency through external promotional outlets and internal programs in 2012. To equip consumers with the information necessary to prioritize water efficiency in the process of building their dream home, KB Home employees received training materials and sales tools designed to educate homebuyers about the benefits of a home with WaterSense labeled products inside and out.
Employees are also trained on KB Home's Built to Order™ program, in which homebuyers can select from a variety of WaterSense labeled products and additional water-efficient features at the KB Home Studio. To encourage water efficiency outside the home, KB Home worked with WaterSense manufacturer partner, Hunter Industries, to advance the production of irrigation controllers that are tested and certified to meet the WaterSense criteria.
2013 Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the Year
WaterSense is pleased to announce its first-ever Partner of Year in the professional certifying organization category—the Irrigation Association . Through its extensive efforts in partner recruitment and promotion of WaterSense, the Irrigation Association has worked to make its water-efficient certifications more accessible across the country. By collaborating with states across the nation to promote labeled program certifications as a prerequisite for a state irrigation contractor license, the organization also catalyzed a steady increase in the demand for certified professionals, labeled products and water-smart landscapes.
In addition to its collaborative efforts, the Irrigation Association worked to promote WaterSense labeled products and program partnership perks to a multitude of industry stakeholders. Part of these efforts included building momentum for WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and the WaterSense new homes program at the 2012 WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. In St. Augustine, Florida, the Irrigation Association hosted the Point of Connection Conference, delivering a keynote presentation outlining the benefits gained by partnering with WaterSense.
Not only did the Irrigation Association educate others on the advantages of WaterSense labeled products, the organization also played a behind-the-scenes role by providing information about testing protocols that helped the development of EPA's Notice of Intent to label soil moisture-based control technologies.
2013 Irrigation Partner of the Year
True to Texan form, John Taylor went above and beyond to promote WaterSense labeled products and water-efficient practices in 2012. As president of Taylor Irrigation Service, Inc., Taylor worked with customers and landscaping company owners in the greater Houston area to educate them on the selection of native plants, appropriate watering schedules, and efficient irrigation systems.
This certified Texas Landscape Irrigation Auditor also installed WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and used the guidelines from the WaterSense new home specification to design water-efficient irrigation systems. By overhauling his company's business model to focus on water-smart, efficient landscape and irrigation practices, Taylor contributed to the proliferation of healthy, sustainable landscapes throughout his community.
In support of his new business model, he maintained an extensive website with information on WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers and an active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Taylor also hosted an online blog and e-magazine promoting water- saving tips and ideas, as well as links to WaterSense materials to encourage water conservation among a general audience.
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.