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The focus was on energy savings and convenience at last month's International Builders' Show (IBS), here, where exhibitors BSH, GE and Whirlpool introduced a wide range of kitchen and laundry appliances designed with aesthetic and pocketbook appeal.
BSH used the event's Show Village 2010 demo area to showcase its Bosch, Thermador and Gaggenau premium appliances within three mock-up homes. The former presented its 800 series of ultra-efficient cooking, preservation and cleanup products within a fully functional kitchen. Models included the 800 Plus dishwasher, which uses as little as 2 gallons of water per cycle and 180 kWh/ of electricity per year, and the Linea side-by-side refrigerator with eco and vacation cooling modes to help reduce energy costs.
Bosch also launched its “Green Technology Inside” initiative at IBS, which “quantifies energy and water savings to give shoppers the confidence that the Bosch appliance they are purchasing delivers the ultimate in efficiency,” said John Farley, senior brand and environmental marketing manager. Designated models include the Vision washers, which utilize sensors to continuously monitor and adjust cycles for optimized operation, and which use only 13 gallons of water per load while delivering the cleaning equivalent of 400 gallons, the company said.
GE used the forum to tout its next-generation, smart-grid-enabled appliances that can save consumers money by delaying operation or by automatically shifting into power-saving modes in response to signals from utility companies during high-rate periods.
GE's smart-appliance suite, already deployed in a number of residential pilot programs around the country, includes refrigerators, ranges, microwave ovens, dishwashers and laundry pairs. Refrigerators, for example, can delay the defrost cycle and send the fridge into energy-saving mode during peak hours. Such a prototype yielded a more than 20 percent reduction in electricity usage over 10 weekdays for at least one pilot participant, GE said.
Similarly, GE's “smart” dishwashers can shift the cleaning cycle to off-peak periods, and prompt consumers to delay their laundry chores during high-demand hours.
GE also displayed a prototype home energy manager (HEM), featuring a 7-inch LCD touchscreen, which acts as a “central nervous system” to monitor the power consumption of all networked appliances and electronics in the home.
Meanwhile, Whirlpool unveiled a host of new products under its Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana and KitchenAid brands that North America division president Marc Bitzer said was just the opening salvo of a broader launch planned for spring.
Within Whirlpool, new side-by-side refrigerators were equipped with MicroEtch spill-control shelves that help prevent leaks and make interior cleaning easier, the company said. MicroEtch technology also eliminates the frames around each shelf to create wall-to-wall storage, providing 25 percent more usable shelf space than previous shelf designs.
Maytag offerings included the Performance Series front-load washer with a “fresh hold” option. Its “dynamic venting technology” allows a completed load to remain in the washer for up to 10 hours without developing sour odors by combining intermittent tumbling with air circulation from a rear-mounted fan to reduce moisture. Three 4.5-cubic-foot models are available, starting at a $1,299 suggested retail.
Jenn-Air showed high-performance wall ovens that featured a 7-inch full-color touchscreen display and what was touted as the industry's first no preheat mode, while downdraft cooktops, available in a unique duct-free configuration, were designed for apartment dwellers and others unable to vent outside.
Jenn-Air also showed a fully-integrated built-in refrigerator collection that included a 42-inch French door configuration, plus a re-engineered line of dishwashers featuring a “TriFecta” wash system that provides superior wash performance with reduced water and energy consumption.
KitchenAid intros included an induction cooktop and a full-depth French door refrigerator with extra-deep shelves and a color LCD screen with a USB port for transferring photos and other data, while a unit conversion table and ingredient substitution table provides cooking guidance. In dishwashers, the latest KitchenAid collection includes models that exceed minimum federal energy standards by up to 61 percent, making them eligible for energy rebates in select states, the company said.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.