GE Technology to Empower the Connected Home of the Future

January 09, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

GE unveiled its smart home technologies. These ecomagination(SM)and healthymagination technologies – including Nucleus™ energy manager with Brillion™ technology, the GE WattStation™ electric vehicle charging station, an advanced small wind turbine, and more – will help consumers reduce health- and energy-related costs and redefine the benchmark for household performance.

"GE’s innovative technology addresses the needs of our rapidly changing lives and does so at a lower cost for consumers," said David McCalpin, General Manager, Home Energy Management, GE Appliances & Lighting. "Consumers expect near real-time information to inform household decisions. We provide this at GE. From Nucleus™ energy manager with Brillion™ technology, to the WattStation electric vehicle charger, digital-energy technology is enabling an energy transformation that will make peoples’ lives easier."

GE smart meters enable two-way communication between the electric utility and the customer via smart devices in the home, empowering consumers to manage their energy use and utilities to manage demand. With smart meters in place, utilities will have the option to charge different rates for electricity throughout the day, with lower prices when energy demand is lowest (off-peak). This will call for new consumer technologies, like GE’s Brillion suite of home energy solutions, that not only improve overall household efficiency, but also help people manage their electricity use – including the charging of electric vehicles (EVs) – in response to utility price signals.

At the core of the smart, connected home is GE’s Nucleus energy manager with Brillion technology, a communication and data storage device that "talks" to the utility smart meter to provide consumers with secure information about their household electricity use and costs so they can make more informed choices about how and when to use power. Additionally, consumers who have the GE programmable thermostat with Brillion technology and GE Profile™ appliances enabled with Brillion technology in their homes will also have access to estimated consumption data on their home heating and cooling and major appliances. Future planned software upgrades will further enable Nucleus to monitor water, natural gas and renewable energy sources, as well as plug-in electric vehicle charging.

The energy display communicates with the utility smart meter to provide consumers with near real-time energy data to help them make smarter energy choices by boiling energy use down to dollars and cents. This intuitive display provides a continuous audit of household energy consumption in kilowatt-hours and in estimated dollars spent.

Brillion-enabled appliances can automatically react to utility price signals from the smart meter and delay or reduce the wattage consumed by the appliance until lower-cost, off-peak periods. GE Profile appliances enabled with Brillion technology will include ENERGY STAR®-qualified refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, and the new GeoSpring™ hybrid water heater, as well as ranges, microwaves and clothes dryers.

The GE WattStation™ is an easy-to-use EV charger that helps consumers reduce EV charging time from 12 to 18 hours to as little as four to eight hours, compared to standard charging. Using smart grid technology, the WattStation also allows utility companies to manage the impact of EVs on the local and regional grids. The development of the WattStation is part of GE’s commitment to cleaner technology innovations for a more sustainable future.

New innovations in lighting mean more efficient homes. GE will showcase the latest in high-efficiency lighting technologies, including the new 9W GE Energy Smart® LED bulb - producing the same light output as a standard 40-watt incandescent, while reducing energy consumption by 77%.