Hybrid Isn’t Just for Cars: The GE GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater

The term Hybrid is a pretty popular catch phrase these days. Hybrid cars are working their way into mainstream car manufacturing, resulting in everything from futuristic cars to the illogical hybrid SUV. The definition of hybrid is simpler than it may seem: a hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. While hybrid is generally associated with green technology, when simply defined, sustainability doesn’t seem to be a guarantee with hybrid machines.

GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater. Designed by GE.

GE (General Electric)

is an expansive company that makes such a wide variety of products I won’t even begin to attempt to list them all. Originally conglomerated in 1890 by Thomas Edison, GE is now the second largest company in the world. Historically, GE has been one of the top environmental polluters. In an effort to change their public image, in 2005 they launched Ecomagination, a group dedicated to clean energy and efficient technology.

Hybrid Isn’t Just for Cars: The GE GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater

Of the many products resulting from Ecomagination, the new GE GeoSpring® Hybrid Water Heater caught my attention for its ability to bring hybrid technology into the home. The water heater combines heat-pump technology with traditional electric elements to produce the same amount of hot water. Heat pump technology works by drawing warmth from the air into the heater and transferring it into the water. This process requires far less energy that standard radiant heat. The question I have is; what happens when there is no heat in the air?

GE states that the water heater can reduce heating expenses up to 62% compared to a standard 50 gallon electric model. The GeoSpring® Hybrid Water Heater was the first heat-pump water heater to be ENERGY STAR® rated and first to be listed on the U.S. Department of Energy's website. As an incentive, The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act provides consumers with a 30% tax credit on the purchase and installation price of an ENERGY STAR heat pump water heater. What is there to lose aside from a small amount of warm air?

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