It’s safe to say that having a fridge is a necessity, not a luxury. Almost every home in the United States has a refrigerator, and 23 percent of American households have two or more. So with this many fridges in the country, it’s optimistic to assume they are relatively good for the environment. Despite producing cold air, fridges, which use the same coolants as air conditioners, contribute to global warming.
Luckily, there are several eco-friendly fridges on the market that are redefining the tumultuous relationship fridges have with Mother Nature. Here’s what you need to know about them.
What’s Wrong With Traditional Fridges?
Fridges use a lot of energy, especially in hotter environments where they have to expend more energy to keep food fresh and chilled. The older the fridge is, the more energy it consumes. Between 2001 and 2011, the average fridge used 651 kilowatts annually. Modern fridges today may only use around 390 kilowatts annually. But with most fridges lasting around 15 years, the probability that the majority of Americans own a modern fridge is quite low.
Coolants are another huge contributor to a fridge’s environmental impact. According to the BBC, “A typical fridge can contain between 0.05kg and 0.25kg of refrigerant… [which is] equivalent to driving 675km-3,427km (420-2,130 miles) in an average family-sized car.”
These coolants, described as “climate-warming,” are devious concoctions of chemicals that run through the machine and keep temperatures down. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), also known by the brand name Freon, are a popular coolant used in fridges. They are also almost “10,000 times as potent as carbon dioxide,” making them a highly toxic refrigerant option.
What Is It?
Eco-friendly fridges minimize the amount of electricity required to keep them running. Because a fridge has to be turned on all the time, it needs to be energy-efficient and contribute to making a household greener.
Several eco-friendly fridge designs recognize that when you open a fridge, you let the cold out even for a few seconds. Therefore, they’ve integrated outside controls, so you only need to open the fridge when you need something. Some even let you look inside the fridge when the door is shut by projecting a camera image onto a screen!
But an eco-friendly fridge isn’t just energy-efficient. It also uses greener coolants. Many advertisements for green fridges will fail to mention what type of coolant the product requires, which is just as important as how much energy it uses. Prospective shoppers should look for a fridge that’s advertised as HFC-free.
An Example of a Genuinely Green Fridge
The Liebherr Monolith MRB3000 Refrigerator is the perfect example of a fridge that ticks all the environmental boxes. Aesthetically, it is incredibly sleek and would compliment any kitchen.
This HCFC/CFC-free fridge has been praised for its advances in green cooling technology. It is Restriction of the Use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliant and doesn’t use solvents to finish its metal sheets.
In terms of energy expenditure, the Liebherr Monolith MRB3000 complies with ENERGY STAR® rating requirements.
Always try to get the smallest size fridge you can bare with and only leave the fridge open when you need it. Luckily, there are more options for environmentally friendly fridges and air conditioners, so always look for those!
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