GE Appliances & Lighting said it became the world's first appliance manufacturer to achieve ZigBee Smart Energy certification for its "smart" or smart grid-enabled appliances. The protocols will enable GE's smart grid-enabled appliances to communicate wirelessly with utility companies via smart meters. This will help consumers better manage electricity usage and utilities better manage overall power consumption during peak usage times. This in turn will reduce the need for more power generation and help consumers save money in areas where utilities have time-of-use (TOU) pricing.
"The ZigBee Smart Energy Profile is emerging to be an important protocol for smart grid communication," said Kevin Nolan, Vice President Technology for GE Appliances & Lighting. "With this technology, both consumers and the utilities will have more information and be able to make better decisions than ever about energy usage."
ZigBee is a wireless communication protocol that helps smart devices in a home, such as appliances and thermostats, communicate with the smart grid through the smart meter. The ZigBee Smart Energy Profile is an open standard for communicating pricing and demand information into the home developed by the nonprofit ZigBee Alliance, an association of utilities, manufacturers, and other organizations.
Certification testing of the GE technology was conducted by National Technical Services (NTS), an independent organization authorized by the ZigBee Alliance.
"We want to provide assurance that when consumers purchase GE smart grid-enabled appliances, they will 'future-proof' their investment and homes, and the appliances will have the ability to communicate with the Smart Grid," said Nolan.
GE smart appliances include washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, microwaves, and the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater, the first commercially available smart appliance that is on the market now. Other smart grid-enabled appliances in the suite will be available later in 2010.
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