KOHLER, WISC. – Kohler Co., the 2008 and 2009 WaterSense Partner of the Year, was chosen by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program as an inaugural Excellence Award recipient for strategic collaboration.

“Kohler is honored to be recognized by the EPA once again, and this time for our collaborative efforts on the serious issue of water conservation,” said Rob Zimmerman, water conservation and sustainability manager for Kohler Co. “Kohler has a large stake in the availability of clean, safe water. And Kohler understands the importance to educate homeowners about reducing water usage.”

After winning back-to-back WaterSense Partner of the Year awards in 2008 and 2009, Kohler continues to lead the industry with its innovative products and programs that bring water-saving solutions directly to plumbers, designers, specifiers and homeowners.

The 2010 Excellence Award was given to Kohler for its efforts to bring together industry leaders and bolster the WaterSense program. Kohler hosted 49 Save Water America educational and promotional events across the United States in 2009, continuing its leadership in the water-efficiency field. Collaborating with national retailers, its extensive distribution network and an interactive Web site – SaveWaterAmerica.com – Kohler reached out to tens of thousands of consumers and trained more than 8,000 professionals on water efficiency.

“Save Water America is just one example of our strategic collaboration with EPA and was a multi-faceted initiative involving touch points with consumers and trade alike in delivering key messages about water conservation,” added Zimmerman.

Kohler completely redesigned its retail packaging, where the majority of consumers purchase their plumbing products, namely toilets, bringing increased importance to the WaterSense logo for qualifying products. Water-saving benefits were also displayed prominently on product packaging and displays so consumers could easily compare toilets in the stores.

In showrooms nationwide, Kohler placed more than 1,000 WaterSense toilets on display, educating homeowners about the program with messaging about the water-saving benefits of these products. Many of these displays were self-contained, plumbed units, meaning people could actually flush the toilets and “test” the performance.

Additionally, Kohler collaborated with EPA in driving a national publicity campaign on WaterSense, including participation in EPA’s “Fix-A-Leak” week, and “We’re For Water” events, as well as leveraging national spokesperson and three-time Master Plumber Ed Del Grande with media and at events.

WaterSense, the EPA’s voluntary public-private partnership program, seeks to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs and practices. Plumbing fixtures and faucets that qualify for the WaterSense label assure consumers of actual water savings and strict performance standards.