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In 2009, GE entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to test the new, more energy efficient water heater called the GeoSprings Hybrid Water Heater. The GeoSpring water heater combines energy-saving heat-pump technology with traditional electric elements using a fraction of the energy. The integrated compressor and evaporator use a fan to draw in ambient heat from surrounding air to heat refrigerant. Then the heated refrigerant runs through coils that wrap the tank all the way to the bottom, transferring heat into the water tank. Test results have shown that the GeoSpring water heater uses less than half the energy of a conventional 50-gallon tank water heater and can last at least 10 years.

The GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater creates the same amount of hot water as a traditional electric water heater, while reducing heating expenses up to 62%. The Department of Energy estimates that if 10 percent of the nation's 4.8 million annual electric water heater shipments were heat pump water heaters meeting Energy Star standards, as does the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater, the 480,000 units would reduce power consumption by nearly 1.3 billion kilowatt hours and save consumers $130 million in energy costs annually. The benefits of the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater also include the addition of U.S. jobs. In 2011, GE Energy opened up a manufacturing plant in Louisville, Kentucky, creating around 400 new jobs.

Today, GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heaters are sold throughout the world.

Water heater testing facility.jpg
Oak Ridge National Laboratory's facility tests several water heaters at one time. Because of ORNL's accelerated durability testing, they estimate that 10 months of constant operation in its testing facility is comparable to 10 years of service life in a typical residential setting. | Photo courtesy of the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center, ORNL
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GeoSprings Hybrid Water Heater

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Publication Date
Jun 27, 2013
Agreement Type
Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)