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The Zombie Lives of Inefficient Refrigerators

This chart shows the fate of old refrigerators after their owners take advantage of cash incentives to buy new energy efficient machines. The...


This chart shows the fate of old refrigerators after their owners take advantage of cash incentives to buy new energy efficient machines. The most glaring reality is that barely over half of the old, inefficient "clunkers" are actually retired and unplugged from the grid. One out of five are given away (presumably to needy friends or family). Ten percent are sold. Another 10 percent are kept as backup "beer and deer" fridges.While the Department of Energy study that produced this chart focused on California and Vermont-two states with relatively aggressive appliance upgrade programs-another report (pdf) by the World Economic Forum and IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates shows that the trend is a national one. So while every year, millions of Americans are upgrading to more efficiency iceboxes, a good number of those old fridges are never unplugged, using even more energy, not less as the programs are designed. The New York Times' Green, Inc. blog has more details:
The report notes that while the average refrigerator in the United States uses three-quarters less energy than in 1975, despite being 20 percent larger, "the number of U.S. households with two or more refrigerators has increased, and the secondary refrigerators are typically older and less efficient than the primary models."
Chris Calwell of Ecos, an energy efficiency consultancy, told Green, Inc.,"The growth in refrigerator size, number of refrigerators in use and prevalence of second refrigerators is swamping much of the gains we've achieved by improving efficiency."
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