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GE to Deliver Smarter Appliances

GE Consumer & Industrial plans to introduce a suite of “smart” appliances, or energy-management-enabled appliances, that are enabled to receive a signal from local utility companies that are participating in tiered rate programs to help consumers manage their peak energy usage. This will help shift some of the energy load from peak hours to other parts of the day to reduce the need to build new power plants, said Kevin Nolan, vice president of technology for GE Consumer & Industrial.

GE already has made significant efforts to develop household appliance and lighting products that help reduce energy spending and protect the environment. Fifty-four percent of GE appliance products are ENERGY STAR qualified, and 99.3 percent of the company’s 2008 compact fluorescent lamp sales were ENERGY STAR qualified models.

Recent energy-saving introductions from GE include the Tankless Gas Water Heater and the Hybrid Electric Water Heater, which will be available later this year. The Hybrid Electric Water Heater is designed to provide the same hot water homeowners are accustomed to, but requires only about half the energy to produce it, delivering a savings of about $250 per year, based on 10 cents per kWh, according to GE.

In the lighting arena, GE claims the world’s first truly incandescent-shaped Energy Smart compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb that features the GE Spiral CFL inside the glass bulb. This design provides the appearance, size and fit of a traditional incandescent bulb, while delivering the energy savings and long-life performance of a CFL.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have awarded GE Consumer & Industrial the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence award for the fourth straight year. This also marks the sixth year GE has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year.

In 2008, the total number of ENERGY STAR qualified appliance base units totaled 563 models, and the number of qualified lighting products grew to a total of 271, according to ENERGY STAR. A recent study shows that homeowners are willing to spend more for energy-efficient products, which is good news for companies like GE that are focused on the development of energy-saving appliances and lighting.

Other good news for companies investing in energy-efficient product design is President Obama’s call for the DoE to set tough new energy-efficiency standards for home appliances, ranging from dishwashers to air conditioners. He is also asking for energy-efficient lighting for public buildings, which will be an added revenue builder for GE as it continues its focus on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic LED development.

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