Energy Efficient Refrigerator – With all the consideration that’s been given to energy efficiency in the last several years, it comes as no surprise that the appliance makers are scrambling to find newer and greener refrigeration technologies. A fridge uses more energy than any other kitchen appliance, which is why it has the title “energy hog,” but things are looking up.
As it turns out, it isn’t growing consumer awareness that is driving the advances in refrigeration technology. It is more the competitive nature of the appliance industry itself. Most fridges are bought by people who will not be using the appliance or paying the energy bill each month (i.e. home builders and landlords), and environmental friendliness is not typically a top importance when it comes to deciding which model to buy. Home owners who are replacing an old model usually consider size, color, and convenience above energy use and environmental impact. Many demands that any premium they pay for greater efficiency pays for itself within a year, which is rarely possible despite the savings they will see on their utility bills.
Rather than fork over the difference for a more efficient model, many people try to use lower-standard fridges in more conscientious ways. While this is an admirable endeavor, it makes little difference statistically. A significant impact comes with a model that is chosen for its efficiency. However, it never hurts to be conscientious!
Every fridge sold in the United States must meet Department of Energy’s efficiency requirements, but more companies are opting to meet the more stringent Energy Star standards. For a fridge to earn the coveted Energy Star logo, it must use at least 20 % less energy than the federal standard. Aside from all the cool gadgets available with the latest refrigerators, there are green advances being introduced as well. Some models are equipped with alarms that go off when a door has been left open for too long. Bosch models have changeable lifestyle settings that allow greater control over energy use; “Sabbath,” “Economy,” and “Vacation” modes automatically adjust the temperature or disable unneeded features like lights, water dispenser, and ice-maker.
Foam-in-place insulation is growing in popularity, as well. The floor, walls, and ceiling of the refrigerator are filled with a liquid foam that expands to fill even the smallest cracks and holes. This insulation serves to make the fridge sturdier and stronger, requiring fewer resources to produce as a result.
Companies are also experimenting with compressors and defrost systems. Variable-speed compressors conserve energy by switching speeds rather than continuously turning off and back on. Much like the ignition of a car, a disproportionate amount of energy is used in the turning-on and turning-off processes.