TechnologyWhirlpool Product Development Laboratory

Whirlpool : Product Development LaboratoryWhirlpool : Product Development LaboratoryWhirlpool : Product Development LaboratoryWhirlpool : Product Development LaboratoryWhirlpool : Product Development Laboratory


The design had to accommodate the size and geometry of the site, the integration of existing buildings, and the effects of the local climate and solar orientation. The restrictions of the site led to an east-west orientation for the new wing. The existing building that was remodeled had a long south façade orientation. The design opened up the building to natural light to enhance transparency, but utilized a series of sun-shading structures to block direct sunlight. The design utilizes a series of sun-shading structures oriented to the west, east, and south of the facility to block direct sunlight. The design promotes staff interaction and encourages sharing of common spaces and equipment, which is critical for any collaborative environment. During planning sessions, the design team discovered the unique relationships among the work being done inside the labs, the offices for the lab engineers, and the offices for the development engineers - all three needing to be connected visually but with various levels of acoustical separation. The resulting design is a very transparent building where visual connection to the outside is as important as the visual connection among the different areas. This transparency also allowed the design team to incorporate natural light into every area of the building, thereby contributing to the quality of space for the users. The company's history of environmental activism dates back to the 1970s, when it was one of the first businesses to set up an office of sustainability. Whirlpool was also an early champion of Energy Star, a program launched to encourage the manufacture of energy-efficient products. Today 590 of Whirlpool's products qualify for the Energy Star label. The company donates a Whirlpool brand range and an ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator to every new Habitat for Humanity home built in the United States and Canada, totaling more than 150,000 appliances to date.

Creating sustainable homes of the future

For appliance maker Whirlpool, energy-conservation and sustainability has never been about “spin.” It's about taking the environment into consideration in all business decisions. Working with suppliers around the world to reduce the company's carbon footprint. Making sure that good business is also good for the planet.

But it wasn't enough to have “green” corporate policies. Whirlpool wanted to create “green” appliances for consumers worldwide. Washing machines that save energy. Dishwashers that conserve water. Refrigerators that support indoor air quality. To undertake this product development task, the company needed bigger and better labs for higher levels of research, using additional staff. So they enlisted Flad to create a state-of-the-art facility in Monterrey, Mexico. With this new product testing lab, the company will devise next generation appliances that will be key components in sustainable homes of the future.

As eco-friendly as the products under development, the bright new facility capitalizes on natural light while harnessing the sun's power to heat and cool the building with brise-soleils. In the labs, work spaces promote staff interaction, collaboration, and innovation as the researchers pursue a brighter energy future.

Location: Mexico


"At Whirlpool, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. Just as we have a global approach to our home appliance business, we believe our world's environmental issues, such as climate change, must be addressed in a comprehensive way. This is why we continue to develop innovative projects that minimize their impact on the environment while making consumers' lives easier."

 Jeff M. FettigChairman and CEO