Whirlpool Invests In Wind Energy

Whirlpool Corporation bills itself as the world’s largest global manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances. Some of the appliances it sells in the U.S. are made domestically. In the near future, many of those appliances will be partly made with wind energy. 

Whirlpool is building wind turbines to help power its plants in the Ohio towns of Marion and Ottawa. Once the wind power projects are completed, they will make Whirlpool one of the largest Fortune 500 users of on-site wind power in the U.S. The turbines will generate enough energy to power over 2,400 average homes. 

The three Marion wind turbines, scheduled for completion in early 2017, are expected to offset about 19 percent of the plant’s electricity use and eliminate the equivalent of over 9,000 tons of carbon. They will generate enough energy to power over 2,400 average homes. The Ottawa wind turbine, slated for completion the end of this year, is expected to offset the plant’s electricity use by 34 percent. One Energy will build and finance the wind turbines as part of its “Wind for Industry” project, just as it financed and built another wind project for Whirlpool. 

The wind turbines at the Marion and Ottawa plants will be the same Goldwind 1.5 megawatt ones used for the company’s wind energy project at its Findlay, Ohio plant. They were also financed and built by One Energy. The three megawatt wind farm at the Findlay plant has been operating since the beginning of 2016 and is expected to offset 22 percent of the plant’s energy use. Each turbine generates enough electricity to power 300 to 400 average homes. There are five wind turbines in total at the plant. Whirlpool uses two of them and the nearby Ball Company uses three. 

Wind power is not Whirlpool’s only use of renewable energy. The company has installed solar power on the rooftop of its nearly 1.7 million square feet (about 30 football fields) distribution center in Perris, California. The 29,600 solar panels, the largest rooftop solar array in the country, collects and stores 10 megawatts of energy. That is enough to power 5,000 homes in Perris.

Whirlpool is making other strides for its operations to be more sustainable. One way it is doing so is by building to LEED standards. In 2012, the company opened three new facilities: an office building for North American operations in Benton Harbor, Michigan; a manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee; and a distribution center in Wilmer, Texas. Two of them received LEED Gold certification, while the other received LEED Platinum certification, the highest level. 

Using less water is a goal of Whirlpool. In several plants globally, both in Asia and Latin America, Whirlpool implemented projects to use less water. Its Faridabad plant in India installed a system that allows it to reuse treated water in a reverse osmosis plant. The water from the reverse osmosis plant is used for paint processes. In plants in Latin America, rainwater is captured and used.

Image: Whirlpool