Figuring things out is high among our American points of pride.
That’s what’s happening at General Electric’s Appliance Park in Louisville.
Inside the sprawling acreage of massive buildings, GE is making a bold investment aimed directly at reducing energy costs and bringing jobs back from overseas.
The focus of this work takes super-efficient heat pump technology, normally used for heating and cooling buildings, and sticks it on top of a water heater. Because keeping a ready supply of hot water on hand accounts for a large part of our home energy bills, the new technology could reduce costs in our household budgets, and produce a more efficient economy.
There are risks involved. This new water heater is more expensive to buy than other models on the appliance showroom floor. But over years of operation, GE’s new water heater will much more than pay for that difference. Paying more now for energy savings in the future is an idea a lot of us are struggling with these days. From efficient, long-lasting light bulbs, to paying more for insulation and energy-saving windows, we’re learning that spending money today can mean savings year after year.
Jobs from China
To build these new water heaters, GE is using innovative manufacturing techniques to develop its assembly line. And management and unions have worked together to come up with new labor agreements that will bring jobs now being done in China, to right here in Kentucky.
This month you can read the first of four columns on GE’s groundbreaking energy initiatives in The Future of Electricity.
This month’s column covers the guts of the new water heater itself—how it works and the role it can play in home energy savings. The following months will describe how appliances are getting more and more efficient, GE’s new manufacturing process, and the kinds of skills and workers it takes to run our more efficient and productive energy economy.
Leading the world in efficiency and productivity calls for constant innovation. GE Appliances in Kentucky is part of figuring out how to stay on that cutting edge.