A team of technologists from GE’s Industrial Solutions, Appliances, Lighting and Research divisions is partnering with major utilities, builders and local communities in the western U.S. to evaluate and develop new strategies that reduce energy usage in new and existing homes by up to 70%** or more. With the average U.S. household paying $1,240 per year in electricity costs, this program could save homeowners more than $850 per year on their electricity costs.
GE and its project partners will assemble a comprehensive package of home energy solutions, which will be demonstrated in several test houses located in various cities throughout the western U.S., including Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California, and San Diego, California. The GE team will integrate a package of roof top solar panels and smart grid-enabled energy-efficient appliance and lighting products with its recently introduced NucleusTM Home Energy Manager. NucleusTM, part of GE's Brillion™ suite of smart home energy management solutions, delivers real-time energy usage consumption data to PCs and smart phone applications, empowering homeowners to track and make decisions about how and when they use energy. In addition to tracking energy improvements within individual test houses, an assessment of these solutions also will be done on a neighborhood scale.
Charles Korman, Manager of Solar Energy programs and a project leader on the Energy-Efficient Housing Partnership Initiative, said, “With deep customer connections in the utility and building industries and a broad portfolio of energy-efficient products in the home today, GE is uniquely positioned to provide new solutions and products that set new standards in American home efficiency. In doing so, we can dramatically reduce our nation’s carbon footprint and save homeowners hundreds of dollars more on their local utility bill every year.”
GE is part of DOE’s Building America team, Building Industry Research Alliance (BIRA). The team, led by ConSol, energy consultants headquartered in Stockton, California, also includes: Washington State University, Arizona State University, University of California at Davis, Ennovationz, Sacramento Municipalities Utilities District, San Diego Gas & Electric, Arizona Public Service, Pulte Homes, Salt River Project and Bank of America. BIRA was one of 15 teams selected to receive funding from the DOE through its Building Technologies Program.
Principal of ConSol, Dr. Robert W. Hammon, stated, “BIRA has provided DOE a diverse research plan that will build and expand upon the successes of the BIRA team over the last seven-and-one-half-years. We have proposed new energy-efficiency research in both existing and new homes that will advance both market segments toward DOE’s Building America Program (BAP) goals.”
The project is aligned with GE’s ecomagination initiative, which represents the company’s commitment to deliver new clean products and technologies to market that help solve our toughest environmental challenges. GE has more than 80 ecomagination certified products, including cutting-edge energy efficient lighting and appliance products, which have met the Initiative’s goal of improving both operational and environmental performance. Recently, the company pledged to double its investment in clean R&D over the next five years from $5 billion to $10 billion.
As part of the program, GE and its project partners will test new energy efficiency and clean power measures both in newly constructed and existing homes. The DOE has cited that today residential buildings account for about 21.5% of the nation’s primary energy consumption and carbon emissions, and about 38% of electricity. Of the residential buildings in existence today, about 85% were constructed prior to the year 2000. In general, the older the building, the less stringent the applicable energy code at the time of construction. As a result, many older residences may be poorly insulated, suffer from excessive air leakage, have old, poorly operating, inefficient mechanical equipment, have less efficient appliances, and have a high percentage of incandescent lights. Energy retrofits and high performance new homes are considered to be among the most cost-effective ways for the nation to reduce its energy use and carbon emissions.
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About GE Appliances & Lighting
GE Appliances & Lighting spans the globe as an industry leader in major appliances, lighting, systems and services for commercial, industrial and residential use. Technology innovation and the company's ecomagination(SM) initiative enable GE Appliances & Lighting to aggressively bring to market products and solutions that help customers meet pressing environmental challenges. General Electric (ge.com), imagination at work, sells products under the Monogram®, Profile™, GE®, Hotpoint®, Reveal® and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Tetra®, Vio™ and Immersion® commercial brands.
**In 2008, the average U.S. residential utility customer consumed ~11,000 kWhr of electricity or slightly greater than 900 kWhr per month. The goal of the DOE Energy Efficient Housing Partnership is to reduce energy use by at least 30% through improvements in energy efficiency and consumer energy demand programs. An additional reduction of more than 40% in electrical energy use could be realized through the addition of a solar electric system, resulting in a net savings of greater than 630 kWhr each month. Based on a national average retail electricity cost of 11.33 cents per kWhr, each household would save over $850/year.