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GE Appliances Creates Home Energy Management Business

December 22, 2010

GE Appliances & Lighting plans to provide a whole-home solution for energy management that looks at the entire home, including the kitchen. Using varied technologies from programmable thermostats to GE Profile Appliances enabled with Brillion technology to energy managers, the company is looking for ways to help consumers control their energy use.  

Dave McCalpin was recently appointed general manager of GE's Home Energy Management (HEM) business, which aims to develop and commercialize the company's energy-management solutions. Global energy consumption is predicted to triple by 2050, and currently residential housing consumes 37 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S., while appliances, lighting and HVAC represent 82 percent of household energy consumption.

“It makes economic and environmental sense for the world to better utilize the power we already generate rather than create more capacity to meet our escalating peak-power needs,” said McCalpin. “If we can better manage when and how we use power, we can control the demand without compromising people's lifestyles. This is where global smart grid initiatives and GE's new Home Energy Management products come into play.”

To help manage the growing demand, utilities in the U.S. and worldwide are implementing smart grid technologies, including smart meters on homes. These new technologies can help improve grid efficiency and reduce electrical demand, particularly during “peak” periods. HEM devices would be able to communicate with smart meters to automatically reduce power consumption of certain devices when the cost and demand for power is highest.

“Knowing what is consuming electricity, and how much electricity appliances are consuming, can be very empowering,” said McCalpin. “People will be able to make smarter choices if they have information. The once-a-month electrical bill provides no insight into your usage habits. We intend to change that.”

GE's Nucleus energy manager with Brillion technology was developed to provide near real-time information for more control over household energy costs and consumption. Along with monitoring consumers' whole-home energy usage, Nucleus will give people the ability to remotely adjust smart thermostats and alter their energy consumption. Components of the Brillion suite of home energy solutions are being tested by five utilities in the U.S.

Pictured: The GE Profile 30-in. freestanding range with induction cooking.
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