Alternative refrigeration

Energy & Sustainability
Alternative refrigeration

Best use of shag carpet ever

Here’s a great overview of different ways to refrigerate:

“Your refrigerator is one of the largest consumers of energy in your home. In an average home, refrigeration burns 125 watts per hour. You can, of course, take steps to reduce the amount of electricity your refrigerator uses–by shag carpeting it, for example. But why not replace your fridge with something entirely renewable?”

My favorite is shag carpeting your refrigerator:

Project: Insulation Of Existing Fridge
Renter friendly.
Project Time: Weekend.
Cost: Inexpensive ($50-100, depending on type of insulation used and size of frame to hold it).
Energy Saved: High. Average refrigeration uses 8 percent of the household energy budget. Insulating your refrigerator can reduce energy use by up to 50 percent.
Ease of Use: Easy. Does not affect day-to-day use.
Maintenance Level: Low. Lengthens life of fridge by reducing the compressor load.
Skill Levels: Carpentry: Moderate.
Materials: 2 × 4s, insulation, paneling, connector plates, screws, and nails.
Tools: Saw, drill, hammer.

And you can also go fully carbon-free for refrigeration, although you lose lots of your ability to regulate temperature.

Here’s the zeer pot, my favorite version
. I’d like to see one of these that adds its own water and maybe turns on supplemental, on-grid refrigeration when/if it gets too warm. Anybody know of other (particularly well-documented) energy-efficient DIY refrigeration?

7 thoughts on “Alternative refrigeration

  1. Doctroid says:

    I refuse to take seriously any discussion of energy efficiency that begins by talking about “watts per hour”. Self-proclaimed experts who don’t even understand energy and power units don’t know what they’re talking about.

  2. Elepski says:

    Modern refrigerators are highly insulated already. If you want to doing some thing to make it work more efficiently… devise a way to extract the heat wicked off by the exchanger.
    The more heat that is removed from the exchanger.. the faster and better it cools… thus working the motors less. So, unless your fridges outside surface is drastically colder than the room temp… you don’t need the insulation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Some refrigerators, especially the small “Dorm fridges” actually use the outer metal shell as a giant heat sink for removing heat from the compressor and as a part of the refrigeration cycle. By removing the heat sink from the system, components may overheat. Make sure you know what you are doing before you perform this project.

  4. DSMatthews says:

    If the heat output from cooling units is used to help heat water you would be saving a large amount of energy over the year.

    There needs to be a system for better integrating the energy flow between various domestic appliances. An entropy trading economy for your home.

  5. Thuli says:

    I’ve got one of the non coil exchangers so I can’t insulate the sides, but my fridge door gets cold enough that on a warm moist day the condensation drips off it in large quantities. Putting bubblewrap on the freezer door only appears to save about 2kwh a week.

  6. Dude says:

    I have to echo Doctroid’s comments above. Watts per hour, are you serious? Especially in the first sentence. I just couldn’t read past that.

  7. Bill says:

    What, exactly, is a “watt per hour?”

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Luke Iseman

Luke Iseman makes stuff, some of which works. He invites you to drive a bike for a living (, stop killing your garden (, and live in an off-grid shipping container (

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