U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater Success Story (Text Version)

Below is the text version for theĀ GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater Success Story video:

NARRATOR: The Geo Spring Hybrid Water Heater is a success story. It's about a new generation of high-performance water heaters. GE's most energy-efficient unit on the market today. One that could save the average American household over $300 a year on its energy bill.

It's about the impact that industry-government partnerships can have to advance new energy-efficient technologies…to reduce energy use and harmful carbon emissions.

It's about creating economic opportunity. Generating jobs and promoting manufacturing, here in the United States.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is home to the Buildings Technologies Research and Integration Center, which supports the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office. The Center encompasses the nation's premier research facilities devoted to development of technologies and systems that directly impact today's consumers by improving the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings.

JOHNEY GREEN - DIRECTOR, ORNL ENERGY & TRANSPORTATION SCIENCE DIVISION: One of the primary objectives of the research at Oak Ridge related to building technologies is to work closely with universities and industry partners to help them bring products to the marketplace that consume less energy and make our nation more competitive. The GE heat pump water heater success story is a great example of impact, and this is just one of many future energy-efficient impacts that we look forward to making.

NARRATOR: On April 1, 2008, DOE announced new ENERGY STAR criteria for electric storage water heaters. A day later, GE responded to the challenge, announcing its intent to be the first major brand with a qualified product. The goal was to introduce a state-of-the-art hybrid water heater by the end of 2009.

PATRICK HUGHES - DIRECTOR, ORNL BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES RESEARCH & INTEGRATION CENTER: DOE is always looking for companies willing to lead their product categories to higher efficiency levels. And what DOE has to offer is partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to accelerate that process.

NARRATOR: GE was drawn to Oak Ridge because of the lab's reputation as a leader in the field of energy efficiency, as well as its thirty-plus years of experience in designing and evaluating advanced heat pump or "hybrid" technologies.

ED VINEYARD - GROUP LEADER, ORNL BUILDINGS EQUIPMENT RESEARCH: Testing is probably one of our major fortes here at the lab. We have a lot of environmental chambers that we can test at different ambient conditions. And all this in trying to increase the efficiency of heat pumps over the years.

NARRATOR: Recognizing the opportunity to accelerate the development and deployment of the energy-efficient technology, GE and Oak Ridge entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to focus on the Geo Spring—to finalize it, evaluate it, and get it into the marketplace.

GE also had determined that the Geo Spring would be made in America—at Appliance Park, in Louisville, Kentucky. A few years ago, GE committed to investing some $800 million dollars in the revitalization of the site that has since produced more than 2,000 new manufacturing jobs.

KEVIN NOLAN – GE VICE PRESIDENT OF TECHNOLOGY, HOME & BUSINESS SOLUTIONS: We are about making energy-efficient products. It's what we like to work on; it's the kind of products that we feel are going to make an impact in the marketplace and, quite frankly, what the consumers are going to be looking for.

NARRATOR: GE and ORNL are already collaborating on the next-generation Geo Spring, and the lab has more than 13 Cooperative Agreements in place with a variety of manufacturers.

PATRICK HUGHES: There are many categories of equipment that can have an efficiency doubled. And through lab-industry collaborations we can systematically do that across the board. And these are the products we want to establish domestic production for.

NARRATOR: Industry-government collaborations: helping lead the world in advancing energy efficient technologies, holding the promise of a more secure economic future for the nation.