Whirlpool Readies Home Appliances for Smart Grid
Whirlpool Corporation announced on Oct. 28 that it will put $19.3 million in stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Smart Grid Investment Grant program to work to accelerate the development of consumer smart appliances that can connect to the grid.
The company said it would be matching the two-year grant with its own investments.
As one example of the products now being developed, by 2011 Whirlpool expects to deliver one million U.S.-manufactured smart dryers capable of reacting intelligently to signals from the smart grid by modifying their energy consumption to save consumers money on their home electric bills. In markets where utilities offer variable or time-of-use pricing, these dryers could save a typical consumer $20 to $40 per year, while also benefitting the environment.
Mike Todman, president of Whirlpool Corporation North America, called the grants “a great example of public and private partnerships that will create the next generation of energy saving solutions.”
He said that “smart appliances combined with time-of-use pricing offer consumers the greatest ability to save money on energy costs.”
Whirlpool has made a commitment that all of the electronic appliances it produces throughout the world will be capable of receiving and responding to signals from the smart grid by 2015.
Meeting that commitment depends upon two important public-private partnerships: development by the end of 2010 of an open, global standard for transmitting and receiving signals to and from a home appliance; and appropriate policies that reward consumers, manufacturers and utilities for using and adding these new peak demand reduction capabilities.
Headquartered in Benton Harbor, Mich., Whirlpool is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — The Leading Suppliers of NAHB.
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