Whirlpool Masters Thesis Project - LCA of Dishwashers

Research Team: 
Start Date: 
May 1, 2018
End Date: 
Dec 31, 2018
Summary: 

Goals & Objectives: What will this project accomplish?
o A comparison of environmental impacts between washing dishes by hand vs washing dishes using a Whirlpool dishwasher.
o Results will be generated using LCA as a tool with GHG Emissions being the main impact category of focus.
o Study will consider various living conditions like high raise buildings, water scarce regions.
o Student recommendations on what rebates/policy changes that can be made to promote the use of the more sustainable method of washing.

Theoretical Justification, Social Benefit, or Significance: Why is this research important? What is the real-world impact of the proposed research?
o The dishwashers are used today in 75% of homes, which means 25% of homes still do not have dishwashers. That is about 30 Million households. If we can find a way to reduce water usage by even one gallon per wash, we could be finding a way to save over 4000 Million gallons of water in the homes that are still using hand-washing techniques.

Specific Activities & Duration: What research methodologies are appropriate to tackle the proposed research question?
o Data collection from homes that use hand-washing techniques (amount of water, detergent, and types of washing methods)
o Data analysis to interpret the data and draw meaningful conclusions regarding handwashing water and energy use.
o Conducting an LCA using this data and comparing to dishwashers water and energy use.
o Whirlpool will provide help, testing data and information for the dishwashers aspect of the project.
o Interpretation of LCA results, scenario analysis and meaningful conclusions
o Results are put in the form of a report
o Students will have support from the Whirlpool Sustainability teams in the form of Biweekly meetings, help with dishwasher data (We can even supply the students with
a dishwasher if needed). If interested, students can also visit Whirlpool offices, and their dishwasher factory.
o It may involve travel to some water scarce region depending upon the scope of the project.

Sponsor: 
Whirlpool Corporation