How Positive-Impact Homes are Shaping the Future of Smart living: A Case Study

by Linda Peia
Jun 12, 2015 4:25 PM ET

For Ron Voglewede, Global Sustainability Director at Whirlpool, “doing the right thing the right way” is the only way, “because there is no right way to do the wrong thing.” For Voglewede, the ‘right thing’ means being net positive — where the resources that we produce are at least equal or greater than the resources that we consume; the ‘right way’ requires looking at all stakeholders using systems thinking. In order to do the ‘right thing the right way,’ Voglewede has found that one needs to work on three levels: optimize, innovate, and transform.

Optimization at Whirlpool has focused on eliminating the tradeoffs between energy/water efficiency and performance, i.e. creating more efficient products without compromising on product capacity, footprint, and product features. In the past 10 years, Whirlpool has, for example, been able to design washing machines and refrigerators that are 50-75 percent more water- and energy-efficient, at a lower cost, with more capacity and features, and better performance.