DOE Highlights New GE Appliance Factory in Kentucky Supported by the Recovery Act

February 15, 2012

The Energy Department today applauded the opening of GE Appliance's newly revitalized manufacturing facility in Louisville's Appliance Park that will produce its highly efficient new water heaters. GE moved the operation from China, where it had been producing a former version of the appliance, to the newly opened plant – the first to open in the Lousiville Appliance Park in over 50 years. The plant revitalization was partially funded through a manufacturing tax credit of $24.8 million under the Recovery Act, and will produce the company's new GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heaters, which were finalized and performance tested in partnership with the Department.

The Department of Energy is working with companies like GE to help foster American ingenuity to commercialize and deploy cutting-edge appliance technologies that will help boost the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing industry, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and create jobs for American workers. The renewal of this manufacturing facility and the production of GE's new appliance have already created hundreds of jobs in Louisville.

GE's prototype for the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heaters was inspired by DOE research efforts in the late-1990s through the early 2000s, spearheaded by Arthur D. Little, Inc., the Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and a manufacturing partner in heat pump water heaters, which earned an award from the editors of R&D Magazine in 2001.

In 2008, GE entered into a cooperative R&D agreement with ORNL to rigorously test their electric heat pump water heater. The product underwent successive iterations of testing and design changes until test results on the final model indicated it could last 10 years and use less than half the energy of a conventional 50-gallon tank water heater. Because of the R&D investments made through this successful public-private partnership, families can now save approximately $325 per year on energy bills by using the GeoSpring water heater. Consumers can trust that the highly efficient water heaters will save them money on their energy bill because it has earned the ENERGY STAR label. The new GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater will be available to the public in April.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE's support of building technologies.

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