Whirlpool issues a challenge all in the name of developing new “Smart Grid” technologies

Whirlpool has announced that all of their appliances will be Smart Grid compliant by 2015.  According to this article by GreenBiz.com, Whirlpool hopes to, “create an open, global standard for home appliances to transmit and receive signals by 2010.”

Smart Grid Diagram for the U.S. Dept. of Energy

Smart Grid Diagram for the U.S. Dept. of Energy

Such appliances would be able to send and receive information from a new Smart Grid electrical system that is already under development in certain parts of the United States.

Our current electrical system cannot detect energy demand, so energy producers run their companies at maximum capacity to insure there is enough energy to meet demand. It would be like running your heat or AC all the time because you did not know whether it was hot or cold. Obviously, this is a very inefficient and imperfect way to do things.

A Smart Grid would work to detect how much energy is being demanded and produce only what is needed. Using the new two-way communication possibilities, home appliances could be turned on only when electricity is abundant and inexpensive. You’re new “smart appliance” might, for instance, only turn itself on during off-peak hours.

Whirlpool hopes to form public private partnerships with utility companies, policy makers, appliance industry, NGO’s and other technology-based companies.  The upcoming Copenhagen climate change conference is where Whirlpool hopes to develop a plan to move forward.

Manufacturer’s moving to smart appliances is not new. In 2008, General Electric started testing its line of smart appliances which would also communicate with smart grid system to delay certain appliance activities such as refrigerators skipping defrost cycles.

The Smart Grid is a way for the United States to become more energy efficient and to feed energy back into the system through renewable sources. President Barack Obama has included includes $4.5 billion for Smart Grid projects which is part of the $787 billion stimulus bill.

Whirlpool is a home appliances manufacturer and also owns and produces appliances under the KitchenAid, Maytag, and Amana brands.

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