Appliances Get Smart: Cut Energy Usage During Peak Hours

Appliances get smart about reducing energy usage and utility bills.

| July/August 2010

Soon your dishwasher will be able to tell you the most economical time to run it. With residential energy use on the rise, particularly during evenings and on weekends, more utilities are offering tiered pricing with price breaks for reduced energy use during peak times (typically 3 to 8 p.m.). General Electric has announced an appliance line (not yet on the market) that switches to lower wattage or goes into energysaving mode when your utility sends a signal indicating peak rates are in effect. GE’s Demand Response line—a refrigerator, range, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer—also lets you know when rates are lowest, so you can plan your chores accordingly.

GE is testing the appliances through pilot programs around the country. The company predicts that within the next decade, they’ll be as common in American homes as Energy Star appliances are today.

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