On October 7, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named Kohler Co., Lowe’s, Cobb County Water System (Georgia), James City Service Authority (Virginia), and Brian Vinchesi as the 2009 WaterSense Partners of the Year. The five partners worked together, along with more than 1,000 other WaterSense partners, to help Americans save 9.3 billion gallons of water in 2008.
Kohler, a two-time WaterSense manufacturer Partner of the Year, has teamed up with Lowe’s, Cobb County, and other WaterSense partners to educate consumers about WaterSense-labeled faucets. Kohler created a mobile restroom, which it took to several water-efficiency events around the country, to showcase a few of the many products for which the company has earned the WaterSense label since partnering with WaterSense in 2007.
Lowe’s, one of the largest home improvement retailers in North America, has highlighted WaterSense inside its stores and in its stores’ communities by educating its 215,000-plus employees about the benefits of WaterSense. In addition, Lowe’s capitalized on training tools such as Lowe’s internal video channel and company-wide marketing meetings to raise awareness of WaterSense while continuing to increase its inventory of WaterSense labeled products and raise customer awareness of the WaterSense label.
Cobb County Water System, serving 650,000 customers in the Atlanta metropolitan area, supported toilet rebates and a sales tax holiday on WaterSense labeled products with help from Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Ferguson, Kohler and other WaterSense partners. The county has rebated more than 1,650 WaterSense labeled toilets since Fall 2007.
James City Service Authority (JCSA) offers a comprehensive rebate program for its 46,000 customers, including WaterSense labeled products, rain sensors, “on-demand” hot water delivery, and services by WaterSense irrigation partners. JCSA also established a “Let’s Be Water Smart”
program with local builders, developers, and landscaping contractors to reduce outdoor water use in hot summer months.
Brian Vinchesi, president of Irrigation Consulting, Inc., requires his employees to complete at least one WaterSense labeled certification program; he has completed four himself. A 25-year veteran, Vinchesi is also active in the Irrigation Association’s Smart Water Application Technology initiative to develop testing protocols for weather-based irrigation controllers and soil moisture sensors.
Winners were honored at the 2009 WaterSense Partners of the Year Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, Nevada, cosponsored by EPA and the Alliance for Water Efficiency.
For more information, visit the WaterSense Web site at www.epa.gov/awards and www.epa.gov/watersense/news/index.
Virginia D. Lee
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency