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2015 WaterSense Partners of the Year
On October 8, 2015, the 2015 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 began in 2006, WaterSense labeled products have helped Americans save 1.1 trillion gallons of water and $21.7 billion in water and energy bills. In 2014 alone, WaterSense labeled products saved 346 billion gallons of water. By working together, WaterSense partners across the country continue to make a difference every day.
WaterSense recognizes four Sustained Excellence Award winners, seven WaterSense Partners of the Year, and six Excellence Award winners for helping to advance and promote WaterSense and water efficiency throughout 2014.
The winners are:
2015 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award Winners:
2015 WaterSense Partners of the Year:
- The City of Charlottesville (Virginia)
- Cobb County Water System (Georgia)
- Murray City Corporation (Utah)
- Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Center at Dallas
- The Toro Company
- Energy Inspectors Corporation
- The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (California)
2015 WaterSense Excellence Award Winners:
- Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
- Colorado Springs Utilities (Colorado)
- Denver Water (Colorado)
- Municipal Water District of Orange County (California)
- Puget Sound Energy (Washington)
Learn about the Sustained Excellence, Partners of the Year and Excellence Award winners' accomplishments (PDF) (8 pg, 2.9MB) and read the EPA press release.
2015 Sustained Excellence Award Winners
Kohler Co., now a three-time WaterSense Sustained Excellence winner, made it a priority in 2014 to address the country's drought concerns. The company worked with The Home Depot to provide special promotions on WaterSense labeled toilets and showerheads in areas hardest hit by California's drought. In addition, Kohler employees collaborated with the City of Brownwood, Texas, to offer significant discounts on WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets, and showerheads and helped retrofit Brownwood City Hall with water-efficient products. Looking beyond products, Kohler supported the Charting New Waters initiative, led by the Johnson Foundation, which gathered stakeholders to identify solutions to protect water resources across the country.
Kohler continued to educate consumers and professionals through its "Trust the Flush"mobile marketing campaign. The 2014 cross-country bus tour showcased WaterSense labeled toilets at more than 195 events, including multiple stops at WaterSense distributor partners. For the second consecutive year, Kohler provided WaterSense labeled products for the Green Builder Media's VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Walt Disney World's Epcot® in Orlando, Florida, which was visited by more than 200,000 people.
Delta Faucet Company
Delta Faucet Company, a three-time Manufacturer Partner of the Year, earned its first WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award for its collaborative efforts to promote water efficiency and WaterSense labeled products in 2014. Delta met quarterly with major retail chains to create and execute strategic plans to promote WaterSense labeled products. To help hotels understand water efficiency improvements and the possible need for installing WaterSense labeled showerheads, Delta worked with global hotel chains to conduct studies on guests' water usage and shower experiences.
Further expanding its WaterSense labeled product line, Delta introduced the WaterSense labeled FlushIQ® toilet in 2014, which offers leak detection and overflow protection to promote water efficiency and includes a touch-free flush. Delta's WaterSense labeled Dryden™ and Ara™ faucets were recognized by an international trade publication for design excellence.
In 2014, Delta launched the HappiMesscampaign to help consumers embrace mess with confidence knowing that WaterSense labeled and other water-efficient products will be there to help clean up even the dirtiest of messes. The campaign utilized both traditional and social media outreach, including a feature in more than 90 blog posts, more than 2,700 tweets leveraging the hashtag #HappiMess, and an article in The New York Times, resulting in more than 83 million media impressions.
Four-time WaterSense Builder Partner of the Year, KB Home, received its first Sustained Excellence Award for demonstrating its commitment to water efficiency by constructing 96 WaterSense labeled homes in 2014, an increase of 60 percent from 2013. The company introduced five new communities in which all homes will be designed to earn the WaterSense label.
To further showcase its water efficiency innovation, KB Home built its first Double ZeroHouse 2.0 model home in Lancaster, California, and its first Double ZeroHouse 3.0 model home in El Dorado Hills, California—both were designed to achieve net-zero energy and the highest levels of resource efficiency. These homes are WaterSense labeled and also feature water- and energy-efficient dishwashers and graywater recycling systems. The Double ZeroHouse 3.0 model uses recycled drain water in all of the home's WaterSense labeled toilets to achieve zero freshwater flushing.
KB Home's accomplishments in support of WaterSense were featured in two high-profile news stories: Builder Magazine's "WaterSense Is Good Business Sense" in October 2014 and local television station KTLA's news series "Be Waterwise Wednesdays" in August 2014. During 2014, KB Home continued to educate and train its sales staff on water efficiency, including the benefits and features of the WaterSense label, and required employees to pass a certification test regarding the proper use of the WaterSense label. They also held trainings for landscape and plumbing contractors on WaterSense's indoor and outdoor homes criteria.
The Home Depot
The Home Depot, a three-time WaterSense Retailer Partner of Year, earned its first Sustained Excellence Award for its dedication to WaterSense education and outreach efforts. In 2014, 518 billion WaterSense media impressions were generated. In addition to regularly featuring WaterSense on The Home Depot's website and in-store promotions, the company launched an online advertising campaign, featuring WaterSense labeled products, through Google and high-traffic websites such as The Weather Channel.
The company also hosted more than 80,000 Web-based video courses to train sales associates on WaterSense and WaterSense labeled products. In order to help consumers purchase WaterSense labeled products, The Home Depot discounted WaterSense labeled products in stores and online, helping customers achieve more than $39 million in product markdowns.
"When we were approached by the California governor's office to help with easing the effects of the drought in the West, we knew this was an opportunity to not only provide immediate relief but also to educate about the water conservation commitments of WaterSense."
Vice President of
The Home Depot
In conjunction with Fix a Leak Week 2014, The Home Depot ran a five-week water efficiency national press campaign in the spring. During the campaign, stores hosted events, including a special event at the retailer's Raleigh, North Carolina, store in collaboration with WaterSense promotional partner, the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department. The store invited the community to learn more about fixing leaks in their homes and installing water-efficient products. Attendees were given water conservation kits featuring WaterSense labeled products. The Home Depot also partnered with AmeriCorps and the State of California to distribute more than 30,000 water conservation kits to households in disadvantaged communities affected by drought.
2015 Utility Partners of the Year
City of Charlottesville
The City of Charlottesville, Virginia, received the WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year award for its various events and outreach promoting WaterSense in 2014. One of the city's most celebrated events was the Fix a Leak Week Family 5K where 75 participants chased a "running toilet" to the finish line. Each participant received t-shirts with the WaterSense program logo and information on the city's WaterSense labeled toilet rebate program. In addition, the city participated in a number of events focused on children, including Kid*Vention, an annual science event sponsored by the Virginia Discovery Museum with more than 1,200 attendees. At the event, the City of Charlottesville distributed numerous activity books that included stickers and pens with tips on "The Top 5 Ways to Save Water."
The city also partnered with Charlottesville's Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), which offered local home energy check-ups and identified areas for water-efficient improvements. To encourage residents to implement the identified changes, the city provided all LEAP home energy coaches with water conservation kits containing WaterSense labeled showerheads and leak-detection dye tablets that were distributed to LEAP participants.
The City of Charlottesville developed a "Blue Team" comprised of a small group of high school students who conducted door-to-door outreach to more than 200 homes and provided residents with water conservation kits, including WaterSense labeled showerheads and additional product rebate information. Through radio advertisements, local events, online outreach, and social media, the city was able to distribute nearly 500 toilet rebates to both residential and multi-family homes.
Cobb County Water System
Cobb County Water Systemin Georgia, now a four-time WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year, made an effort to participate in all of WaterSense's outreach campaigns in 2014. For the H2Otel Challenge, Cobb County offered free water audits at hotel facilities and distributed marketing materials with WaterSense messaging. The utility successfully recruited five hotels to participate in the Challenge and featured one of the hotels in its Water $aver quarterly e-newsletter. To promote Sprinkler Spruce-Up, Cobb County produced a segment for the local county cable station, instructing consumers about water-efficient irrigation systems and successful watering practices. The utility also had a hands-on WaterSense labeled irrigation controller demonstration in its lobby during Sprinkler Spruce-Up where consumers could practice scheduling the weather-based irrigation controller and ask questions of county staff. As part of Fix a Leak Week 2014 and the Green City program, Cobb County collaborated with Niagara Conservation and Green Plumbers USA to replace toilets and showerheads with WaterSense labeled models. For the Shower Better campaign, Cobb County provided 3,600 WaterSense labeled showerheads to Kennesaw State University students to retrofit their dorms.
"Our most successful initiatives always begin and end with great partnerships, and WaterSense is one of those partners, as well as the bridge we often use to build other partnerships."
Senior Project Manager
Cobb County Water System
In addition to supporting WaterSense campaigns, Cobb County once again participated in the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District's Water Drop Dash 5K. During the event, Cobb County distributed 100 outdoor water efficiency kits to attendees who visited four exhibitors during the water festival. Cobb County also held events at local Home Depot stores during a Georgia sales tax holiday weekend and gave away 6,000 WaterSense labeled showerheads to consumers throughout the year.
The utility supported a couple key research initiatives and concluded a three-year grant project on the outdoor component of WaterSense labeled homes. The results included three articles that described how the financial barriers for achieving WaterSense labeled homes outdoor criteria were not significant.
Murray City Corporation
WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year, Murray City Corporation, in Utah, used its limited resources to make a big water efficiency splash in its small community. The city launched its "Tap Into Murray Quality" campaign to promote WaterSense and water conservation as its key message to customers. The campaign incorporated WaterSense promotional materials, including bill stuffers, blog posts, the WaterSense promotional label, and social media posts to promote awareness. To educate the community about WaterSense, Murray City hosted a traveling booth at local farmers' markets, youth sporting events, and other local happenings to introduce residents to WaterSense and learn how to be more water-efficient.
Murray City partnered with local plumbers and plumbing suppliers during Fix a Leak Week 2014 to educate consumers about water efficiency, fixing leaks, and the city's rebate program. Plumbers and plumbing companies promoted the event by offering a special Fix a Leak Week discount to their customers. When Murray City hosted a Fix a Leak Week booth at a local Lowe's Home Improvement store, it resulted in the Lowe's store selling out of its WaterSense labeled showerheads. The city surveyed both plumbers and rebate participants on their experiences with WaterSense labeled products in an effort to gain more research on product satisfaction. Nearly 80 percent of participants surveyed indicated they would purchase WaterSense labeled products again. Staff also partnered with the National Energy Foundation and administered a survey to obtain results from its Water Wise Kids program and water-efficient practices. The city found that the education program was effective, as the kids surveyed were knowledgeable about ways to be water-efficient. For example, 80 percent of the kids said they take five-minute showers, and nearly 40 percent have helped their parents install water-efficient aerators in their homes.
2015 Promotional Partner of the Year
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centerat Dallas received a WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year award for its efforts to promote WaterSense to consumers across the state of Texas. In 2014, Texas AgriLife continued touring with its Mobile WaterSense Home, an 8-by-14-foot mobile home with a bathroom showcasing a WaterSense labeled dual-flush toilet, bathroom sink fixture, and showerhead. Texas AgriLife also created giant irrigation heads and flags promoting the "Find It, Flag It, Fix It" campaign, which was launched in conjunction with Fix a Leak Week 2014. The "Find It, Flag It, Fix It" campaign encouraged homeowners to inspect their in-ground irrigation systems for leaks and flag any necessary points of repair. About 6,000 irrigation flags with the "Find It, Flag It, Fix It" slogan, Texas AgriLife's website, and the WaterSense partner logo were distributed to consumers. In addition to promoting to consumers, Texas AgriLife's WaterSense labeled home was showcased during a traveling demonstration to professional audiences.
At 24 regional outreach events, Texas AgriLife proudly displayed the WaterSense partner logo and promoted WaterSense labeled products, either with the use of the Mobile WaterSense Home, the dual-flush toilet demonstration, or the wall of irrigation controller demonstrations. Texas AgriLife also exhibited information on WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers and rainwater harvesting at the State Fair of Texas. In total, Texas AgriLife was able to reach nearly 500,000 participants at these events.
In 2014, Texas AgriLife had 46 appearances on a Sunday morning news program reaching 560,000 viewers each week. In addition to the news program, Urban Water Team members conducted 19 television interviews related to the WaterSense labeled homes, irrigation-related water efficiency, and plant selection, reaching a viewership of nearly 2 million. The organization also started work with a local developer on the design of a new residential community featuring WaterSense labeled homes. When fully constructed in 2015, the development will have 900 homes, 120 townhomes, and an elementary school.
2015 Manufacturer Partner of the Year
The Toro Company
The Toro Companyearned the WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year award for its demonstrated commitment to expanding awareness of WaterSense labeled products in 2014. Its regional sales managers partnered with water agencies throughout their territories to educate end users on the installation and programming of weather-based irrigation controllers and municipal rebates. The company also partnered with the Irrigation Association's regional chapters and other organizations to train and educate contractors and distributors, including John Deere Landscapes, on water efficiency best practices, the availability of WaterSense labeled products, and tips on how to install and use weather-based irrigation controllers to obtain maximum water efficiency.
To further promote water efficiency, The Toro Company featured its WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers at 30 national and regional trade shows, expositions, and sales events with exposure to more than 70,000 consumers, contractors, landscape architects, and irrigation professionals. In addition to its outreach, the Toro Company supported WaterSense as it conducted research about soil-moisture based control technologies by developing test criteria for these products.
2015 Licensed Certification Provider Partner of the Year
Energy Inspectors Corporation
Three-time WaterSense Licensed Certification Provider Partner of the Year, Energy Inspectors Corporation, exemplified its continued leadership in the WaterSense New Homes program and maintained its strong collaboration with WaterSense builder partners in 2014. Working closely with KB Home, the company certified more than 95 properties that met WaterSense homes criteria—double the number of homes it certified in 2013. With Energy Inspectors' support and promotion in 2014, KB Home committed to building 10 communities of WaterSense labeled homes, which represents around 600 homes.
The company's inspectors continue to follow its hands-on training approach to the WaterSense Labeled New Home Inspection Checklist on model homes. To date, Energy Inspectors Corporation has trained 11 inspectors to perform WaterSense specification inspections. In 2014, the company developed an online training video for both new and existing inspectors to maintain their knowledge on performing WaterSense labeled home inspections.
2015 Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the Year
Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership
Two-time WaterSense Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the, Year Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (SMSWP)in California, continued to promote the WaterSense labeled Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) certification program. In 2014, SMSWP accepted four professional certifying organizations that adopted the QWEL certification program and certified 200 professionals. It also continued to educate irrigation professionals and its customers on the benefits of sound landscape design, management, and irrigation practices, including WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers. Outreach to existing QWEL certified professionals increased in 2014 with the launch of the monthly QWEL North Bay Newsletter, which provided information related to WaterSense training and continuing education opportunities.
SMSWP continued collaborating with the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials in 2014 to jointly promote the Green Plumbers Training program and QWEL through its newly developed website at www.gpqwel.org. In early 2014, SMSWP refined the QWEL graywater specialty training module with instructions covering graywater codes in California, system design and sizing, laundry-to-landscape, branched drain systems, and plant selection. Using the module, they sponsored a successful initial class in Sonoma County, California, in April 2014 with 23 participants. SMSWP also began working with a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, WaterNow, to increase the reach of the QWEL graywater module and train additional irrigation professionals and plumbers to install graywater systems.
2015 Excellence in Strategic Collaboration
Colorado Springs Utilities
In 2014, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU)in Colorado developed successful partnerships with a variety of organizations to promote the WaterSense mission. For example, CSU helped the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs by supporting a student-led dormitory retrofit of early 1990s-era toilets with WaterSense labeled models. Students researched and tested multiple models and ultimately replaced 233 units, recycled the old models as aggregate, and completed rebate applications.
CSU introduced its "Guerilla Green" campaign, a proactive water efficiency education and outreach approach to work with WaterSense partners and promote WaterSense in their communities. Staff developed relationships with multiple WaterSense partners within their communities to elevate the value of water in business operations and to establish WaterSense as the solution for implementing conservation initiatives. In turn, these partners demonstrated their support for water efficiency by informing their customers about WaterSense and how to participate in available CSU incentive programs.
2015 Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products
Denver Waterin Colorado promoted the adoption of WaterSense labeled products through retailer education, rebate programs, and targeted outreach. Staff visited approximately 60 retail outlets in 2014 and held conversations with sales and customer service representatives, provided point-of-sale displays for applicable products, and received feedback on customer service. The Denver Water conservation team members worked with retailers to promote the utility's toilet rebate program, explain WaterSense performance testing, and encourage retailers to carry more WaterSense labeled products. The utility also offered rebates for WaterSense labeled toilets and promote the use of every WaterSense labeled product category.
In addition, Denver Water created a new WaterSense Challenge in 2014 to identify large, multi-family buildings with exceptionally high indoor water use per unit. A dedicated team member worked closely with participants to conduct a home makeover using WaterSense labeled fixtures. In 2014, Denver Water encouraged eight large condominium and apartment complexes (approximately 3,700 units) to retrofit bathrooms with WaterSense labeled fixtures.
2015 Excellence in Education and Outreach
Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District
In 2014, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning Districteducated consumers about water efficiency and WaterSense labeled products across Metro Atlanta. In conjunction with WaterSense's Fix a Leak Week, the Metro Water District hosted its annual Water Drop Dash 5K and Water Festival to promote simple ways to find and fix leaks in homes. Prior to the event, the Metro Water District partnered with Cox Media Group to air 15-second radio spots and a 30-minute interview about Fix a Leak Week and the event. More than 700 runners participated in the 2014 race, and each runner received indoor and outdoor water conservations kits. At the Water Festival, the Metro Water District and 11 participating water utilities provided hands-on, water-related activities and giveaways, such as toilet dye tablets, shower timers, and rain gauges.
In addition, the Metro Water District educated consumers about WaterSense labeled products by promoting its rebate program via its website, press releases, program fliers, and Georgia Sales Tax Holiday materials. They also updated two irrigation brochures that educate consumers about WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers and reminds consumers to hire certified irrigation professionals.
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES)utilized information in WaterSense materials to develop the New Hampshire We're for Water campaign tailored specifically for state residents. NHDES also promoted the WaterSense label statewide and encouraged water behavioral changes through a social marketing campaign. NHDES held a New Hampshire "Cute Kid Photo Contest" within the department to compile photos for marketing the WaterSense program. The winner was featured on the cover of a "Saving Water Is in Your Future" brochure featuring WaterSense's simple steps to save water.
In addition to its outreach to residents, NHDES educated utilities, municipalities, and other stakeholders about WaterSense and encouraged them to become partners. NHDES collaborated with the NHSaves program, a partnership program between several electric and gas utilities in New Hampshire, to update its catalog in 2014 with WaterSense labeled products and a Shower Better infographic.
2015 Excellence in Sprinkler Spruce-Up Activities
Municipal Water District of Orange County
In spring and fall of 2014, the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC)in California used the Orange County Garden Friendly (OCGF) Program as a platform to promote WaterSense's Sprinkler Spruce-Up campaign with water-efficient plant choices. MWDOC teamed up with the Orange County Stormwater Program and University of California Cooperative Extension to host six events throughout Orange County—three at Home Depot stores and three at other local garden centers. At these events, more than 700 retail customers learned about WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers and the importance of "sprucing up" irrigation systems.
WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controller sales increased during the events by more than 225 percent at three Home Depot stores as compared to the average daily sales. Through the OCGF platform, MWDOC distributed approximately 25,000 fliers to Home Depot stores across Orange County to promote WaterSense labeled products eligible for rebates.
2015 Excellence in Promoting the Water/Energy Nexus
Puget Sound Energy
Puget Sound Energy (PSE)in Bellevue, Washington continued to demonstrate its leading role in promoting the water/energy nexus in 2014 by launching a sports-themed "Energy Upgrade" campaign targeting 14 high-profile events. The campaign's cornerstone event was held in September 2014. PSE targeted ferry, bus, light-rail, and train commuters as they made their way to an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. Commuters received a "Golden Upgrade Ticket" to redeem for a free WaterSense labeled showerhead or energy-efficient appliance. In total, 10,037 golden tickets were distributed and 29 percent were redeemed.
Another key component of the campaign's success was its retailer and manufacturer partnerships. Partners such as Kohler Co. donated prizes, and PSE increased its rebates on the partners' WaterSense labeled products during the campaign.
About the Awards Program
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.