GE's High-Efficiency Investment

Dec. 21, 2004

Since 2001, GE Consumer & Industrial, a $13 billion Louisville, Ky.-based unit of General Electric Co., has invested more than $500 million in high-efficiency products and, by its count, currently offers nearly 600 appliance and lighting products that meet or exceed specific U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for energy efficiency and pollution reduction. Under terms of a joint DOE-EPA recognition program, such products can be marketed as Energy Star-qualified. And in February of this year, GE Consumer & Industrial was named a DOE-EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year for contributions to environmental protection and energy efficiency in manufacturing appliances and lighting products. Why invest about a half a billion bucks? "The easiest answer is that we believe our customers want those products," says James P. Campbell, president and CEO of GE Consumer and Industrial -- Americas. "And our end-goal is always to work [from the] market back and develop the kind of products our customers want and are willing to buy." Consumers "are beginning" to perceive a link between less energy usage and a benefit to the environment, he says. GE has put its money into product design, primarily, as well as into improving manufacturing processes and marketing. "The majority has been into design and manufacture, because if the product isn't energy efficient, it doesn't really pay to market it," says Campbell. "You really got to have the platform. In particular [with] some of the new refrigerators or the high-efficiency laundry products, you have got to invest to get there, to get those products to the kind of levels that we want to. And then from there we develop the collateral material, the marketing story and everything else that goes with it." GE's product lines include 110 Energy Star-qualified dishwashers, 247 Energy Star qualified refrigeration models and 20 Energy Star-qualified clothes washer models. GE is also a recipient of the EPA 2004 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award. GE has eliminated all ozone-depleting foam blowing agents in its worldwide operations. Foam blowing agents are, among other things, used in the process of insulating refrigerators.

About the Author

John McClenahen | Former Senior Editor, IndustryWeek

 John S. McClenahen, is an occasional essayist on the Web site of IndustryWeek, the executive management publication from which he retired in 2006. He began his journalism career as a broadcast journalist at Westinghouse Broadcasting’s KYW in Cleveland, Ohio. In May 1967, he joined Penton Media Inc. in Cleveland and in September 1967 was transferred to Washington, DC, the base from which for nearly 40 years he wrote primarily about national and international economics and politics, and corporate social responsibility.
      McClenahen, a native of Ohio now residing in Maryland, is an award-winning writer and photographer. He is the author of three books of poetry, most recently An Unexpected Poet (2013), and several books of photographs, including Black, White, and Shades of Grey (2014). He also is the author of a children’s book, Henry at His Beach (2014).
      His photograph “Provincetown: Fog Rising 2004” was selected for the Smithsonian Institution’s 2011 juried exhibition Artists at Work and displayed in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., from June until October 2011. Five of his photographs are in the collection of St. Lawrence University and displayed on campus in Canton, New York.
      John McClenahen’s essay “Incorporating America: Whitman in Context” was designated one of the five best works published in The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies during the twelve-year editorship of R. Barry Leavis of Rollins College. John McClenahen’s several journalism prizes include the coveted Jesse H. Neal Award. He also is the author of the commemorative poem “Upon 50 Years,” celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Wolfson College Cambridge, and appearing in “The Wolfson Review.”
      John McClenahen received a B.A. (English with a minor in government) from St. Lawrence University, an M.A., (English) from Western Reserve University, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University, where he also pursued doctoral studies. At St. Lawrence University, he was elected to academic honor societies in English and government and to Omicron Delta Kappa, the University’s highest undergraduate honor. John McClenahen was a participant in the 32nd Annual Wharton Seminars for Journalists at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. During the Easter Term of the 1986 academic year, John McClenahen was the first American to hold a prestigious Press Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.
      John McClenahen has served on the Editorial Board of Confluence: The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies and was co-founder and first editor of Liberal Studies at Georgetown. He has been a volunteer researcher on the William Steinway Diary Project at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and has been an assistant professorial lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


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