Once a candidate for sale, General Electric’s appliance business, headquartered at Appliance Park in Louisville, is mounting a major comeback, one that has put it solidly on the front lines of green energy and “smart” products.
Hybrid-Electric, Energy Efficient Product Plans in Louisville
General Electric is investing $150 million to bring in state-of-the-art appliance lines and creating more than 800 jobs at a site the company had once considered selling. The sprawling Louisville complex will soon produce hybrid-electric water heaters, energy-efficient, front-loading washers and dryers, and several new appliance components.
The new hybrid technology will allow GE to be the first U.S. manufacturer to introduce a water heater that meets the new U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR standard for this new category of hot water heaters. The new washers and dryers represent the latest in efficiency technology and will be designed to meet the expected 2014 ENERGY STAR requirements. And, both new products will contain technology that will enable them to communicate with utilities to take advantage of lower-priced energy in the markets that offer time-of-use pricing.
To help make this project possible, the Commonwealth showed its support by approving over $20 million in state incentives for the new “smart” product lines.
“This is a shining example of how Kentucky aggressively works with existing companies to help them reach their potential here in the Bluegrass,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “These investments are yet another piece of evidence that Kentucky has become the home of cutting-edge efficiency in energy consumption.”
A city within a city, Appliance Park is the global headquarters for GE Appliances & Lighting, spanning 900 acres. The park includes 25 miles of rail line, and even boasts its own ZIP code. Each manufacturing building could enclose 15 football fields. One warehouse is as big as six city blocks. The first appliance manufactured at Appliance Park, a dryer, was shipped in 1953. GE estimates the complex produced more than 185 million appliances by the end of 2007. Today, GE contributes more than $425 million annually to the Louisville economy.