CASA GRANDE, AZ—Kohler Co. recently opened a new facility here to produce bathroom fixtures for its Sterling brand. The 1-million-square-foot plant features state-of-the-art “smart factory elements and production technology that create durable and stylish baths, shower receptors, and bath-shower walls,” says Norbert Schmidt, president of kitch and bath North America at Kohler.

“The new plant provides the capacity to support our strong growth projections for Sterling to better serve our customers with the highest level of quality and delivery,” adds Schmidt.

The facility is also equipped with technology to “track key sustainability measures to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, water use and solid waste, as well as energy efficiency.”

In March, Kohler was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to demonstrate a commercial-scale decarbonization system at the plant.

Kohler plans to use an electric boiler and microgrid system tht will prevent at least 7,865 metric tons of CO2e from being released annually. This represents a reduction of at least 90 percent of the pressing process emissions by eliminating CO2e emissions from natural gas boilers.

Kohler will incorporate electric boilers, install a 21 megawatt solar array microgrid, utilize long-duration energy storage (LDES) batteries with 68 megawatt hours of storage and install 12 megawatts of hydrotreated vegetable oil-capable industrial backup generators.

According to Schmidt, the LDES batteries, coupled with advanced microgrid controls, will “eliminate all possible solar curtailment scenarios and enable the facility to run the boilers on renewable energy while performing solar smoothing, thereby reducing carbon emissions.”