While I support new product development for Kohler’s Kitchen & Bath business, I’m also part of Kohler’s Environmental Leadership Team, which oversees our corporate sustainability efforts. At Kohler, we have a great story to tell about water—not only our water-efficient plumbing products, but also how we use water in our global manufacturing operations and in our diverse businesses. We track water use at all of our operations, and have reduced overall water consumption per unit of sales over the past three years.
I often get asked about another of Kohler’s businesses when speaking about water efficiency. Namely, the five championship golf courses: The Dukes in St. Andrews, Scotland, Whistling Straits Irish and Straits courses in Haven, Wisconsin, and Blackwolf Run River and Meadows courses here in Kohler, Wisconsin. Blackwolf Run is in the world spotlight as I write this, hosting the 2012 US Women’s Open.
Golf courses have the reputation for requiring a lot of water, but our managers and groundskeepers at the Kohler courses use many strategies to minimize water and fertilizer use. Among these are choices of drought-tolerant grass species, especially outside the fairways, careful application of irrigation water to only the areas that need it, hand-watering greens and tee boxes, use of wetting agents that retain and evenly disperse water, and use of soil moisture sensors and rain gauges that help take account of what water Nature provides.
And we continue to look for ways to reduce water use, which led to several of the ponds on the course being allowed to transition to wetlands.
I think our management practices at Blackwolf Run are very much aligned with what our plumbing business strives to do. That is, to create a memorable experience for our customers/guests while taking care to reduce our environmental impact in the process. Play a round and see for yourself…and hit ‘em straight!