Massive corporate conglomerate
General Electric has some bold predictions for 2015; namely, that if consumers invest in the new line of appliances they're creating-everything from blenders to solar panels to a "cybernetic brain" to control the whole thing (I'm sure that won't go wrong
)-their houses can be energy neutral. Check out the rendering below:
There are some cool ideas in here: For example, I'm a big fan of home energy monitors (as are Google with their Powermeter
and Microsoft with Hohm
). But there are a lot of ideas that seem to stretch the limits what is practical, like installing solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps (seems expensive and site specific). And presumably, this is only practical if you're building a house from scratch, though everyone would benefit from more energy-efficient appliances.Let's hope this doesn't suffer the same fate as another big corporation's vision for the future: GM's "skateboard" program-a hydrogen drive-by-wire system
-bet big on fuel cells, which have since proved to be both impractical and not as environmentally friendly as once thought. Seven years in, and millions of dollars invested, there's not much to show for it, aside from some good PR around the launch. Does GE's venture seem like it can go the distance?