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Water and Energy Efficiency in Home Laundry: Innovation at the Interface of Wash Platforms and Cleaning Chemistry


Whirlpool Corporation,750 Monte Rd., 5320 Benton Harbor,MI 49022-2600, USA


The analysis of energy consumption in a traditional laundry process suggests that hot water for washing
and dryer are the major energy sinks. The targets for design of sustainable laundry process as outlined by Whirlpool Corporation Sustainability vision and external regulations are presented. Major challenges to decrease water and energy consumption in laundry are highlighted and examples of technical innovations implemented at Whirlpool Corporation to overcome such challenges are discussed. The final outcome of the combination of different innovations on water and energy reduction in the laundry process is presented.


In 1990 the laundry process was responsible for approximately 375 kg of CO2 equivalents emission annually in a typical household in the United States (U.S.). It was clear that significant reduction in water and energy consumption was imperative to make the laundry process more sustainable for the planet. At Whirlpool Corporation, the first step in the design of a sustainable laundry process was to identify the amount and sources of water and energy consumption in a traditional non-high efficiency (HE) laundry process. For an average laundry load the water usage in a traditional laundering cycle in 1990, was about 170 Liters (1). The total energy usage of a similar laundry process was 2.7 kWh (2). A high level distribution between the different energy contributors suggested that 50% of the total energy was to generate hot water for washing, about 40% was dryer energy and about 10% was overall mechanical energy to run the machine. Quantifying the energy usage by source suggested the following target paths for Whirlpool Corporation with potential for the steepest decrease in water and energy consumptio ...

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