Nina Kshetry hopes to help people improve their lives while protecting the environment.
As climate change alters the world’s eco-systems, water emergencies are on the rise.The Indian city of Chennai, for example, started to run out of water, causing deteriorating conditions in the homes and businesses of close to 10 million inhabitants.Much of Europe sizzled this summer under record heat, and wildfires burned in Spain and Portugal. Meanwhile, scientists warn of decades-long megadroughts, and desertification — degradation of arable land caused by human activity — is accelerating at 30 to 35 times the historical rate, according to the United Nations.Moen, a North American consumer brand of kitchen and bath faucets, showerheads, and other water-related accessories, is paying attention to the waning of water resources.This year, the company hired its first water director.Two-time MIT graduate and engineer Nina Kshetry will help Moen forge connections with water organizations across the United States, make consumers more aware of how they use water, and support product development of water-efficient and smart products for the home.Garry Scott, vice-president of marketing for Moen Canada www.moen.ca, says the hire was driven partly by the fact that some 1.5 trillion gallons of fresh water run through Moen faucets each year in the United States.“We are a huge provider of water,” he says. “Moen has always been a steward, and we believe there’s an opportunity now not only make stylish products but to be smart with our designs and support water as a vital resource.”Kshetry’s brief will include working on research behind how, when and why consumers use water in the home, and product development.Two recent collaborations highlight not only Moen’s eagerness to develop new water products but a willingness to work with start-ups and support emerging technologies.
The Nebia Showerhead will be available in matte silver or black.
One such partnership with the Silicon Valley-based Nebia resulted in the Moen Nebia Spa Shower 2.0, which atomizes water into millions of micro-drops to deliver the feeling of high pressure — while saving 65 per cent of water compared to a conventional shower. Nebia claims its customers have already saved an estimated 100 million gallons of water, and that it’s on track to saving a billion gallons in the next two years.In February, the two companies launched the showerhead on Kickstarter. Nebia is available for pre-order through www.nebia.com and will be available through Moen channels beginning January 2020.Recognizing that 10 per cent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more of water a day — according to estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency — Moen also partnered with Flo Technologies www.meetflo.com.Flo lets homeowners control their water from a smartphone: it calculates water pressure, flow rate and temperature, and uses AI to flag abnormal water use. It’s comprised of a Wi Fi-connected device that’s installed on the main water supply line and connected to an app.The focus on water conversation and product innovation also means tweaks to conventional products. A “power boost” feature on kitchen faucets launched earlier this year, for example, allows the user to increase water pressure on, say, stubbornly stuck food, without increasing the flow.
New nickel finishes on tub fillers add elegance to a highly functional design.
For the bath, a tub filler collection designed for increasingly popular freestanding tubs, Moen has a proprietary bracket system that assures the faucet remains secure, and free of the wobble that sometimes accompanies floor-mounted tub fillers.Scott and his team are non-committal about future collaborations, but more strategic associations seem likely. “We look for ideas from the global marketplace and we’ll look at partnerships if we think we take the technology and bring it to life,” says Scott. Those alliances, he seems to suggest, will continue to support wiser use of water everywhere.