LOUISVILLE, Ky., – Feb. 10, 2012 – (NYSE:GE) – GE Appliances today announced the opening of its GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heater manufacturing facility at Appliance Park in Louisville, Ky. – the first to open there since 1957. The $38 million investment in the new product and a revitalized facility is the first milestone in commitments GE has made since 2009 to invest a total of $1 billion ($800 million in Louisville) and create more than 1,300 new jobs in the U.S. by 2014. The new product and other recent investments at Appliance Park has also created hundreds of highly skilled salaried jobs in fields like engineering, industrial design and manufacturing.
“The journey we started in 2009 to get to this day has been an inspirational one,” said GE Appliances President and CEO Charles “Chip” Blankenship. “To reverse decades of outsourcing by bringing new, industry-leading products and jobs back to the U.S. takes tremendous cooperation, imagination, courage and plain hard work by a lot of people. I want to thank our local union, our employees, government and company officials for having and executing a vision that is bringing these jobs to Appliance Park and creating a bright future for our business.”
Lean manufacturing and a more competitive wage structure for new employees led to the selection of Louisville as the production site for the new water heater instead of China, where an earlier version of the product was made. Not only can the new product now be made more competitively in the U.S., the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater, developed by the Louisville team, has an enhanced feature set, offers better performance with greater energy savings and will be more affordable for consumers.
The GeoSpring has the distinction of being the first GE Appliances product designed and built using Lean manufacturing principles. The Lean process, which uses a cross-functional team of employees – including hourly manufacturing workers – to design the product and the manufacturing process, will help increase the competitiveness of the operation by identifying and removing waste in materials and work effort often found in traditional manufacturing.
State and local governments also supported putting the new GeoSpring in Louisville with up to $17 million in incentives to design and build the new energy-efficient facility and other investments that the company will make at Appliance Park during the next several years.
“We made a commitment early in my administration that energy-related development would be a high priority,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said. “We developed an aggressive plan to not only research and develop new kinds of energy production, but to attract businesses and projects that are similarly committed to cleaner, greener energy applications. GE’s new hybrid water heater is a perfect match for our energy commitment and our strong manufacturing core.”
About the GeoSpring:
The new GE GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater is designed to provide hot water in the quantities homeowners have come to expect from a 50-gallon tank water heater, but uses less than half the energy to produce it. Compared to a conventional 50-gallon tank water heater that uses 4879 kWh per year, the new GE GeoSpring Water Heater:
- Uses less than half of that energy – or about 1830 kWh per year.*
- Saves approximately $325 per year, less than half the cost of a conventional electric water heater — that's $3,250 in savings in energy costs over a 10-year period based on 10.65 cents per kWh.
The GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater combines energy-saving heat-pump technology with traditional electric heating elements. Hybrid technology absorbs heat in the ambient air and transfers it into the water. Since this requires much less energy than the energy used to generate radiant heat – as used in a conventional electric tank water heater – the GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater is more economical to operate.
GeoSpring will be available in March at national retailers such as Lowe’s and Sears and national plumbing distributors such as Ferguson, as well as many local retailers and distributors. For more information on features and availability visit GEAppliances.com/american-made-water-heater/.
State and local tax credits and utility rebates for purchasing the energy-efficient water heater may also be available to benefit consumers.
*Based on DOE test procedure and comparison of a 50-gallon standard electric tank water heater using 4879 kWh per year vs. the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater using 1830 kWh per year.
About GE Appliances
GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people’s lives. GE Appliances’ products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems and water heaters. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information on GE Appliances, visit www.ge.com/appliances.