Lowering Your Refrigerator’s CO2 Emissions


Your fridge is likely one of the largest home equipment in your own home, and it runs 24 hours a day. So once you’re trying to cut back the carbon footprint out of your family home equipment, the fridge is of course one of many first locations you look. Refrigerator’s aren’t really the worst emissions offenders within the residence – that doubtful honor goes to air conditioners – however fridges do generate about 4% of a house’s emissions. That’s 89 kg CO2/12 months, and it does add up over the lifetime of the equipment.

Refrigerator Impacts

These home equipment contribute to local weather change in two other ways. First, fridges generate greenhouse fuel emissions not directly by utilizing electrical energy. That quantity will fluctuate relying on how a lot electrical energy the fridge makes use of and what energy supply is used to generate the electrical energy in your house. On common, an previous fridge makes use of about 33% extra vitality than a present Energy Star fridge.

Refrigerators additionally include refrigerants, that are purple record chemical substances with extremely excessive world warming potential. These refrigerants generate emissions immediately. The quantity will depend on which sort of refrigerant is used and the way a lot of it escapes into the ambiance. Since the Montreal Protocol banning CFCs took impact, fridges usually used R-134a as a refrigerant. Chlorinated fluorocarbons like R-134a are far much less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, however they aren’t innocent. As of January 1, 2021, R-134a was eradicated from fridges in favor of R-600a, which has 200 instances much less world warming potential.

Refrigerators don’t normally leak very a lot refrigerant. But dumping a fridge will ultimately launch all of the refrigerant into the ambiance. The Responsible Appliance Disposal program has created a searchable map to search out service suppliers who will seize and safely get rid of previous refrigerants.

Food Waste

Because we buy fridges to protect meals, it’s counterintuitive to assume that they will contribute to meals waste. But in case your fridge is just too large, meals could be forgotten on the again and spoil. Food waste contributes about 14% of Americans’ family carbon emissions; studying to retailer produce correctly in your fridge could also be extra vital than which fridge you purchase. Storing open containers within the fridge will increase moisture ranges. That makes the compressor work tougher and will increase the chance of spoilage.

open refrigerator full of food
Don’t retailer open containers of meals within the fridge because it will increase moisture ranges, making the compressor work tougher. You also can enhance your fridge’s effectivity by setting the temperature a bit increased.

Low-Impact Refrigeration

You can cut back the affect of your fridge by means of common upkeep and easy repairs. Check the door seal to verify it’s hermetic, and if air is escaping, substitute it. Use a slim vacuum attachment and brush to scrub the condenser coils and fan each few months. Drain hoses can get clogged and freezer followers could be hindered by ice build-up. Check them once you clear the coils.

You also can enhance your fridge’s effectivity by setting the temperature a bit increased. Just as many individuals waste vitality by setting their air conditioners too chilly, they hold their fridges at near-freezing temperatures. A barely hotter setting of 37 levels Fahrenheit is greatest. Freezers ought to be set to 0 levels Fahrenheit. Turn off any extras that use electrical energy, like ice makers and anti-sweat heaters. Your fridge and freezer will function most effectively when they’re about three-quarters full.

Where you place the fridge in your kitchen could make a distinction, too. To guarantee correct airflow across the coils, set fridges a couple of inches out from the wall, and don’t use the highest of the equipment for storage. Don’t station the fridge subsequent to heat-producing home equipment just like the oven or dishwasher. And strive to not place the fridge the place it would obtain direct daylight from home windows for giant components of the day.

Finally, bear in mind your mother’s admonishment to close the fridge door so that you don’t let the within heat up.

Better Refrigerators

It is usually extra environmentally accountable to make use of issues for so long as attainable earlier than changing them. But there’s a level of diminishing returns on previous home equipment. The Energy Star web site has a financial savings calculator that will help you resolve whether or not to restore or substitute a fridge.

When it’s time to substitute your fridge, make sure that it’s the proper measurement for your loved ones. A typical rule of thumb for fridge sizing is six cubic ft per particular person within the family. Bigger fridges use extra vitality, however are extra environment friendly per cubic foot, so it’s higher to purchase one right-sized fridge than to maintain a spare operating within the basement or storage.

If you may get by with a slim, small-capacity fridge, use the Energy Star Most Efficient record to search out your only option. Check Earth911’s fridge purchasing guides for the most effective counter-depth or standard-sized fridges.