Net-zero energy, water, waste structure through Whirlpool Corporation, Purdue University partnership

by Kacey Larsen

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.—Combined effort by Whirlpool Corporation and Purdue University will convert a late 1920’s vintage bungalow in West Lafeyette, Ind., into a living laboratory for appliance and resource efficiency research. Whirlpool Corporation engineers are working with the university as part of a commitment to sustainability and advancements in the home building and remodeling industries. The off-campus house –called the ReNEWW house for Retrofitted Net-zero Energy, Water and Waste –will be renovated to include energy-saving features, solar panels, a “gray” water system that reuses water from sinks and showers, and other technologies that promote resource efficiency.

“The goal of this project is not only to learn more about resource sustainability, but also to demonstrate how any home can become resource efficient when the right kind of modifications are made,” said Bob Bergeth, Whirlpool’s general manager of builder sales. “After we’ve compiled this valuable research, we plan to share it with our homebuilder partners interested in the benefits of sustainable building. This project will also provide valuable insights which inform our engineers on future product design.”

Over the next three years, engineers that participate in the Whirlpool Engineering Rotational Leadership Development Program and are enrolled in the engineering graduate program at Purdue University will have the option to live and work in the house. After collecting baseline data like how much energy and water the home consumes, students will work on converting the house into a net-zero home. Plans for the home also include finishing the large basement into a laboratory environment. An instrumentation system will be installed to monitor key data and employ the lab and data collected to help develop a next-generation, high-efficiency appliance suite in conjunction with Purdue University.

Involvement in the ReNEWW House is a continuation of the sustainability efforts that take place every day at Whirlpool Corporation. More information about sustainability practices and builder and contract channel solutions can be found here

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