GE teams with utilities, builders and communities to increase home efficiency


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Niskayuna, N.Y., August 24, 2010 — 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 percent 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 Sacramento and San Diego.

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 Nucleus Home Energy Manager.

Nucleus, 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.

GE is part of DOE‘s Building America team, Building Industry Research Alliance. 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.

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 percent of the nation’s primary energy consumption and carbon emissions, and about 38 percent of electricity. Of the residential buildings in existence today, about 85 percent 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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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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