DOE Highlights New GE Appliance Factory in Kentucky
DOE highlighted on February 15 the opening of GE Appliance's newly revitalized manufacturing facility that will produce its highly efficient water heaters. GE moved the operation from China to Louisville's Appliance Park, the first facility to open there in more than 50 years. The plant revitalization was partially funded through a manufacturing tax credit of $24.8 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and has already created hundreds of jobs in Kentucky. It will produce the company's new GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heaters, which were finalized and performance tested in partnership with DOE.
GE's prototype for the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heaters was inspired by DOE research efforts in the late 1990s through the early 2000s, including work by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). In 2008, GE entered into a cooperative agreement with ORNL to rigorously test the 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. The new GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater will be available to the public in April. See the DOE Progress Alert.
GE is also one of 60 companies cited by President Obama for taking part in DOE's Better Building Challenge. In 2010, GE achieved a 33% improvement in its own energy intensity and a 24% reduction in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (both from a 2004 baseline). At that time, it set even more aggressive targets for 2015, including a 50% energy intensity improvement and a 25% GHG emissions reduction across more than 105 million square feet. See the White House press release and the Better Business Challenge website.