TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Tore Land, Director, GE Ecomagination Challenge

We at GE want to give our heartfelt thanks to the TED community for participating in this conversation. Your ideas and insights -- ranging from home automation and discussions about a two-way grid to apps and gaming methods that can drive behavior change -- have been fascinating to read and stimulating to respond to.

On a personal note, as the host of this conversation, I want to thank you for your participation and fresh thinking here. And on behalf of the whole ecomagination Challenge team, we look forward to working with you to help imagine and build technology that can meet these pressing environmental challenges.

GE believes widespread adoption of clean energy technology will start in the home. And we believe the second phase of the ecomagination Challenge will help drive that change. We invite you to continue to follow this project via our website:


We're currently reviewing the submissions to the challenge and, together with our partners, will evaluate the most innovative. We'll be announcing the winners next month -- stay tuned for the announcement!

Home energy is a critical global challenge, and we want the TED Community to know we are committed to building -- and scaling up -- innovative solutions.

Thank you for letting us pick your brains!

Tore Land
Director, GE ecomagination Challenge

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    Feb 16 2011: Build a fat refrigerator. Imagine a beer cooler with 6 inches of insulation instead of 1inch. How long would the ice last? All week, right?

    Refrigerators are the 2nd biggest energy hogs in the home, next to AC. A thick-walled frig filled with cheap ridig-foam insulation should cut energy consumption in half. Next, install a smaller motor in the TOP of the frig - not the bottom- just like grandma used to have. Heat rises, so put the motor at the top. (maybe the motor unit should go on the outside wall ?) A fat frig might hold less, but a smaller cubic inch frig is a small trade-off for a machine that runs on pennies per month. If you can cut the household energy consumption by half, let's say, you could cut national consumption by half. We burn a lot of imported oil generating electricity to run those energy hog refrigerators. This is a better idea that GE should have re-engineered in the 20th century.

    Conservation works(!) and it cost nearly nothing.
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      Feb 17 2011: EXCELLENT IDEA. I also think a better insulated fridge will need smaller coils for the heat exchanger and then the coils could sit on the top of the fridge instead of the back...allowing more space for more
      insulation in the back...Could actually have your cake and eat it too.....(cold)

      Also, the insulation doesn't HAVE to be uniform. The freezer could have more.
      • Feb 22 2011: i like the idea but i think it could use more building, ive been on the idea of sub terrain homes but i realize the drawbacks and know this isn't the answer i live in Florida and dont run the AC because of the window construction of the house but i think maybe having a wall back by dirt (a kind of like having a side of the house being sub terrain-en a sense) and building the fridge as part of the house thus being more insulated by the earth and the cooling unit not only be for the fridge but make it the cooling unit for also the house as well. as an added bonus the house would naturally be cooler from the one side being buried/backed by dirt
    • Feb 17 2011: If you're willing to pay a bit more, then making the box out of vacuum panels instead of stuffing them with
      insulation would allow for both reasonable size/capacity and good insulation.
    • P C

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      Feb 22 2011: A LOT of energy is wasted converted electricity back to thermal energy. Better yet, use replaceable Vacuum Insulated Panels. They have the highest insulation ratings available. I'd recommend using them not only for refrigerators, but something along those lines for hot water tanks and pipes as well. Imagine the insulation rating you'd get putting a hot water tank in a thermos?
    • Feb 22 2011: A smaller motor does not neccessarily equate to energy savings.

      For example a smaller compressor would take longer to move the same volume of heated refrigerant, this means it would take longer to move the same amount of heat as a larger motor. In short this means longer running times which could actually increase energy usage in some cases.

      As for putting the motors on the top instead of the bottom, they would then be subjected to the heat given off by the condenser coil which can actually harm their operation efficiency so that too may not be as beneficial as it seems at first glance.

      When it comes to insulation more is not necessarily more. Quality, even if that means a greater cost, is far more beneficial than thick insulation.
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      Mar 9 2011: If this is paired with solar power it makes the comsumption almost zero in most parts of the world, this goes for both refrigiators and even for airconditioners.

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