General Electric Plans Net-Zero Energy Home by 2015

July 16, 2009 by Lisa Zyga weblog
The major components of a net-zero energy home as part of GE's Net-Zero Energy Home project.
Credit: General Electric.

( -- Using solar panels, wind turbines, appliance monitoring, and on-site energy storage, General Electric has a plan to enable homeowners to cut their annual energy consumption (from the electric grid) to zero, in some cases, and at least minimize consumption in others. GE is piloting the technology this year, and hopes to commercialize the system by 2015.

The GE Net-Zero Home Project encompasses a variety of technologies, as well as consumer incentives. The most expensive part of the project involves on-site power generation through or wind turbines, where applicable. As GE executives explained during a recent symposium at the company's Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York, a 3,000-watt solar panel array could be enough to supply all of a home's consumption, and cost about $30,000 to install.

GE is also converting its appliances (for about $10 per appliance) to be able to communicate with a home's smart meter, allowing consumers to find out how much energy individual appliances use. The information will hopefully allow users to control appliances by using them during off-peak times (peak times are usually morning and early evening), encouraged by time-of-use pricing plans.

Homeowners would also use an energy monitoring device called Home Energy Manager, which costs about $200-250. The Home Energy Manager is designed to control and optimize on-site energy generation and consumption, such as by running the dishwasher or clothes dryer at times when the solar panels are operating, and not during peak times.

As part of the project, plug-in electric vehicles would be charged during the night. The vehicles and other storage batteries could also be used to store electricity for use during peak times.

Overall, a net-zero home would cost about 10 percent more than the conventional kind, but would help homeowners save money in the long run, as well as make the more efficient. If the system is easy to use and offers financial incentives for customers, GE hopes that it can encourage involvement where everyone can benefit.

via: CNet

© 2009

Explore further: Californians bask in solar energy

Related Stories

Californians bask in solar energy

January 4, 2007

Soaring energy costs, environmental consciousness and financial incentives have combined to make solar panels part of the California housing landscape.

Solar-Powered LED Lamp Tracks Your Home's Energy Use

September 11, 2008

Designer Beverly Ng created the solar-powered LED Spark Lamp as a decorative way to reduce energy consumption - but, perhaps more importantly, to let homeowners know of their daily energy use.

'Smart' fridges stay cool by talking to each other

January 13, 2009

( -- 'Smart' fridges that run on renewable electricity and are capable of negotiating the most energy efficient way to keep food cold have been developed by researchers from CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship.

Recommended for you

Enhancing solar power with diatoms

October 20, 2017

Diatoms, a kind of algae that reproduces prodigiously, have been called "the jewels of the sea" for their ability to manipulate light. Now, researchers hope to harness that property to boost solar technology.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (4) Jul 16, 2009
GE plans on stealing your money in the cap and tax scam being pushed by the Socialist in Chief of the United States.
3.5 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2009
I'm interested to see what the final cost of this housing is.

If it's efficient and costs a million dollars, it's a waste as the majority of people will never live there. If it's more efficient than current homes, and is reasonably priced, (reasonably priced being relative to the cost in the local market after pricing out utilities' costs) then regardless of GE's aim, it's a good thing.
not rated yet Jul 16, 2009
"Overall, a net-zero energy home would cost about 10 percent more than the conventional kind"

Okay, buts whats a "conventional" house cost? Are we talking a 800 sq ft new house like we see being built or a 12000 sq ft mansion. I don't think it scales so easily.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2009
This is a step is such a good direction.
3.3 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2009
This is an awsome step in the right direction. To Lord Jag, a 10% increase in costs would work for any house, itll cost more to outfit a 12000sq ft mansion then it would to outfit a 800sqft house, so its 10% of the market price of that house.
2 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2009
Living in a place with hydro power and no net metering, in the floor heat, so no set back thermastat,aone size fits all solution is hard to imagine.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2009
right now the Germans are making super insulated homes that do not have furnaces. the solar devices to enable this adds about 10% to the construction cost of the house. it's happening right now and the additional cost is minimal. GE will do it and the cost will be low contrary to the belief of the whiners above.

5 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2009
only 10% more than a conventional home -- YET we know that there is at least a 30k increase to cost due to solar panals. --- Now i wonder if the author realises that most of America DOES NOT live in a 300k home.
5 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2009
only 10% more than a conventional home -- YET we know that there is at least a 30k increase to cost due to solar panals. --- Now i wonder if the author realises that most of America DOES NOT live in a 300k home.

Cost and retail price are two very, very different things.

An increase in the cost without an increase in the retail price simply means a smaller profit margin.
Then again, I don't trust GE to ignore profit margin to "save the world". Their healthcare division has taught me that much.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.