For those of you that have always dreamed of living like the Jetsons, you’ll soon get your chance. General Electric (GE) announced on December 14, 2009 that it will begin manufacturing high-end energy efficient front-load washers and dryers at its Appliance Park facility in Louisville, Kentucky, beginning in 2012. Referred to as “smart” appliances, they have the ability to talk to other appliances and communicate with the electricity grid. Production of the laundry units is the second new product platform to be introduced in Louisville this year. The first was the GE Hybrid Water Heater, which is GE’s first commercially available smart-grid enabled product. Slated for production in mid-2011, the hybrid water heaters will save consumers approximately $320 annually.
These products take energy efficiency one step further at a time when many Americans are facing increasing electricity costs, while still experiencing the hardships of the recession. Given the fact that about half of a typical home’s electricity consumption goes to power appliances, lighting, and water heating, smarter appliances will save families money and shrink their personal carbon footprint. For most utilities, electricity demand peaks between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., when people come home from work, cook dinner, wash clothes, run the dishwasher and flick on their big screen televisions.Click to continue reading »