GE Launches Home Energy Management Business

Want proof that home energy management is about to become big business? Look no further than GE, which this week announced the launch of a Home Energy Management (HEM) unit that brings together the company's myriad smart grid-connected products.

It's no secret that GE has designs on the cleantech industry—the company recently announced  an infusion of $10 billion into its ecomagination initiative R&D over the next 5 years—but the creation of the HEM unit signals that GE is serious about getting into the smart grid game.

GE already has a number of smart grid-ready products on the market and in the testing stages, including grid-connected water heaters, refrigerators, and dishwashers. The company also recently announced that it is testing its Nucleus Home Energy Manager system (a device that stores energy data and offers a web dashboard with energy use information) on a handful of homeowners in Arizona and California. The Nucleus is set to debut next year for approximately $199.

Why bring together these products into the HEM unit? The answer is most likely that GE plans on growing this segment of its business substantially. In addition to the Nucleus, GE is testing out a new programmable thermostat, energy display, and a number of smart phone applications. The company imagines a future where "Nucleus will enable people to remotely adjust smart thermostats and modify the use of GE Profile Appliances enabled with Brillion technology responding to price indications given by the utility."

GE is already ahead of its competitors—no other major appliance maker has dedicated a unit to home energy management. So for the foreseeable future, at least, GE will dominate the space.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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