What you're looking at may seem like a droid in the background of Star Wars, but the digitally controlled GE hybrid water heater is notable for the fact that it is the first standard water heater to be listed on U.S. Department of Energy website as complying with the Energy Star Rated standards...
By utilizing heat pump technology in combination with traditional electric elements, this Hybrid Water Heater pulls heat from surrounding air and transfers it to the tank. This innovative process creates the same amount of hot water as a traditional water heater, but can reduce energy expenses up to 62%.* And that could have a dramatic impact on monthly utility bills and the environment. The new GE Hybrid Water Heater:
* Consumes up to 62%* less energy than a standard electric water heater
* Results in energy savings of $320 per year*
* Exceeds ENERGY STAR® minimum requirements of 2.0 Energy Factor (EF) with 2.35 EF
The "hybrid" technology is comprised of a heat pump system which works in conjunction with standard electric elements that pull heat from surrounding air, resulting in a warmer tank with less energy expenditure...up to 62% reduction with $320 savings annually. That's enough saved to treat yourself to a PS3, iPhone or whatever tech toy you've got on your Santa's wish list.
The GE hybrid water heater is controlled by an LCD electronic control system which operates thermostat and temperature settings, all with a smaller footprint than a typical 50 gallon household water heater. A 30% federal tax credit may kick in for those qualified, alongside some state side Energy Star savings. More at GE.