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Green Fridge Invention Uses Almost No Electricity

Green Freezer appliances
Nearly every household has a fridge that completely wastes at least 30 kwh of energy every month.

Most of that energy is wasted every time you open the door. Cold air is heavier (warm air rises, remember?) so it falls out onto the floor every time you open your fridge, and warm air from outside rises to fill the space it left. But with a top opening fridge; even if you leave the door wide open, gravity effortlessly keeps the heavy cold air down, inside the fridge.

Using this principle, a clever Australian inventor, Tom Chalko has converted a deep freeze into an incredibly efficient refrigerator.

He chose a freezer because they are top opening. The only difference between a freezer and a fridge is the temperature maintained inside: freezers are colder.

Freezers maintain freezing  temperatures, while fridges operate somewhere between 0 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But, if converted to a fridge, it only has to run for a minute or two every hour to maintain normal fridge temperatures. So turning a freezer into a fridge just meant installing a simple external thermostat to cut the power off when it reaches the temperature that Tom set.

(Carried away with his energy reduction; he also took out the 15 watt interior light bulb, but he will reconsider this, if he ever finds some reason “for opening my fridge in the dark.”)

His home-made fridge uses much energy in 24 hours as a 100 Watt light bulb gets through in just an hour.

Not only is it energy efficient; but it’s absolutely silent too. The thing is only running for a minute or two every hour. At all other times it is perfectly quiet and consumes no power whatsoever.

I wonder why no company has thought of this easy way to cut energy use in fridges?

All you clever designers out there; leave your thoughts on how to make a top-open fridge easy to get stuff in and out of. You just need a way for drawers to slide up, so you can access the depths without leaning down into a huge box. Devise your system so it needs no electricity, of course.

Via Build It Solar

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42 Comments so far to “Green Fridge Invention Uses Almost No Electricity”
  1. Shumpei Says:

    That is hilariously awesome. Wow. I want one.

  2. David - green thoughts Says:

    Terrific idea, thank you for writing about it. Maybe some company will come up with such a product for the mass market. Sometimes improvements consist of "working" smarter, not harder. In case anyone has not yet heard this or figured this out, there is a LOT of hidden waste in industrialized societies. It is time to start squeezing them out, as this refrigerator does.

  3. sushil periwal Says:

    terrific idea. the entire world should benifit from this idea. it would ge better if someone commercialises this…… this person should be rewarded.

  4. Jason Says:

    You write "Freezers maintain freezing temperatures, while fridges operate somewhere between 0 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit". Anything below 32 degrees would be freezing on the Fahrenheit scale.

  5. Kimber Says:

    These are already used in restaurants, shops etc… Dont know how practical it will be in an everyday home

  6. dettaglio Says:

    Better if he invents a way to do the same in a fridge standing vertically. In city apartments, there may be too little space to lay down a big fridge :)

  7. bbum Says:

    A very good idea, certainly, but far from a new one.

    In the homebrewing world, folks turn chest freezers into über-efficient kegerators all the time. In that case, you will often see a wooden surround placed between lid and the chest freezer through which tubes and taps can be run. It impacts efficiency surprisingly little.

    Any decent homebrewing store will sell a temperature controlled relay.

  8. Justin Akehurst Says:

    Make it open up like a tackle box. put some hydraulics like in hatchback cars to keep lid open.

  9. icie Says:

    Regarding the lighting conundrum, it could be an idea to use LEDs instead of the light bulb to provide energy-efficient lighting.

  10. bob Says:

    You can buy the freezer and the external thermostat here.
    http://www.backwoodssolar.com/.....tm#CROSLEY

  11. Stuart G Says:

    This problem has already been solved in campervans and yachts where ultra low power refrigeration is important – almost all fridges in these applications are top loading. The barrier to uptake in the home is convenience, no one likes digging bent over in a chest freezer for the frozen chook at the bottom, let alone digging for leftovers in the bottom of a chest fridge.

    10 points for self retrofitting an existing appliance by using a simple electronic power timer on the wall outlet.
    0 points for invention.

  12. HappyEngineer Says:

    You could put a horizontal plastic sheet across each shelf which was held in place with elastic so you could pull it aside when trying to get to the food. It would help to keep the cool air in.

    Or, you could eliminate shelves and just have the fridge contain large air tight drawers. The air would be cooled inside the drawers so that you would only lose a little bit of cool air when you pulled them out.

  13. Interesting Reading #325 – The Blogs at HowStuffWorks Says:

    [...] Green Fridge Invention Uses Almost No Electricity – “Nearly every household on Earth has a fridge that totally wastes at least 30 kwh of energy every month. Most of the energy is wasted every time you open the door. Cold air is heavier and falls out on the floor every time you open your fridge and warm air rises to fill the space it left. But with a top opening fridge; even if you leave the door wide open, gravity effortlessly leaves the heavy cold air inside…” [...]

  14. Michaelc Says:

    The problems of awkward access and lack of counter space could be solved by making a fridge that had drawers like a dresser, then the top would be usable as counter space and different food types could have their own climate areas while still keeping the eco advantages of a top loader.

  15. Chanda Shahani Says:

    Add a solar panel and this can really perpetuate itself!

  16. Varun Says:

    this is a cool idea but what i know is that the fridge i am using at my homes works on the same principle it is not on the whole day as to speak
    it draws power only some times in a day like twice in an hour for 5 minutes i suppose
    i know that is quite a lot but still it is a 220L fridge it has to take this much energy..

    any comments whether i am wrong or right…

  17. Gillian Says:

    You could use that system that some posh CD holders have, where they move around on a kind of conveyor belt system – the drawers would rest at either end on a chain of some sort that moves around (like along and then down and along the other way and then up), so when you push a drawer they would all move round. Well, I know what I mean.

  18. DIY fridge hack uses almost no electricity | Mutate! Says:

    [...] Home Design Find: Green Fridge Invention Uses Almost No Electricity [...]

  19. The Baker Man Says:

    Varun: The only substantial difference between the refrigerator in the article and the one in your home is the energy lost when the door is open. If you rarely open your refrigerator, it should have very similar power usage assuming similar efficiency ratings.

  20. Why in the world… Says:

    [...] rest is here. Tags: green technology, refridgerator, refrigerator « What is more [...]

  21. Hyper-Efficient Refrigerator Uses Less Electricity than a Light Bulb - PSFK Says:

    [...] [Home Design Find via Mutate!] [...]

  22. Kevin Says:

    I have a friend who installed a hydraulic lift system in his. It replaces the hinges so when you press a button the top moves up allowing access to the interior while keeping the top available for counter space. Great idea.

  23. warren Says:

    I like the idea the cold stays put the compressor is on less, probably due to being for a fridge now. we all fall for the sales guys "takes up little floor space and AAA rating" got me to think about what i need not what they want to sell me i have shelves not drawers and always have to pull things out to get to the back. didn't do the math just know if its not on it's not it not using power

  24. Marlene Says:

    I just bought a new LG refrig/freezer for a small kitchen apartment. This appliance is anything but small. How big a fridge/freezer does one person need? Can this fridge be made with a small freezer? The energy savings is great! The chest style needs room to open the lid so it can not be put under a counter top. Could the lid be made to slide forward and down?

  25. Zahiran Says:

    Where I can get this fabulous invention?? Details, please!

  26. Susannah Says:

    I had a small chest-style freezer which I put on wheels. Then I rolled it under a counter top. I could pull it out without disturbing the items on the counter, and even use it as an extra countertop when I needed one. Baskets inside solved the problem of access, more or less. If it had been thermostatically controlled to be used like a fridge, I think I would have invented a weight and pulley system to lift the bottom baskets.

  27. okostrom Says:

    Orionsolar's little nano-sized cells are coated with an organic dye engineered to react when hit by sunlight to produce energy more efficiently,

  28. Susan Kraemer Says:

    Good for you! Brilliant!

  29. itdincor Says:

    Great! I found a 12 volt top opening refrigerator at Lehmans.com, but it's German designed, Austrian made, and costs $1,500 plus freight.

    This, however, may well be affordable.

    Thanks for the link, and I'm now for your home page.

  30. strom vergleich Says:

    in einer Wohnanlage Quelle grüner Energie zu investieren. Vielleicht nicht durch Zufall wurden es nie weitere

  31. öko strom Says:

    in einer Wohnanlage Quelle grüner Energie zu investieren. Vielleicht

  32. Jim Says:

    This is not a new idea. A guy from NASA created this quite a while back and originally sold it under the Company name Solus, which I think has now become Sundanzer

  33. Vincenza Says:

    Have you seen those folding out sewing baskets or tool boxes? Where once opened they resemble "steps" and everything can be seenat once? Well, I am suggesting that this idea to lift out shelves from a chest style fridge. – The use of strong, lightweight aluminium mesh framing. Long handles to open up and out, left or right only or both sides at once. All heavies or long items like bottles that need to be stored upright can have the lowest, deepest "step"at the bottom of the chest. As an added feature, movable compartment separators can be included so that one can customize how they store items. This is a very simple solution, yes?

  34. Susan Kraemer Says:

    Brilliant, I know exactly what you mean.

  35. öko strom Says:

    s a policy wonk and investment analyst specializing in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

  36. öko strom Says:

    Ein Green Electricity-Vergleich Mit steigenden Strompreise und die globale Erwärmung eine wachsende Sorge

  37. Jim Atkinson Says:

    I have developed a filter for an electric clothes dryer which allows the user to return the hot moist air back into the home saving money and making a more healthful environment, please look at dryernet.com

  38. Andrei ulasowski Says:

    Easy you know the glass doors on display fridges. Using that to see a side and ontop, have a ferriswheel arrangement of baskets that can hold milk, beer, veges separately. And hand crank this around til you can see the shelf/basket you want to get at – slide the door open at the top to pick out whatever. This should stand atleast bench high 100L without taking much apartment space. If the baskets were discrete drawers which could slide out and the open at the top- this could be a full standing fridge with no cold air loss when accessing a drawer even thou at bottom of 'ferriswheel'. Out

  39. Susan Kraemer Says:

    brilliant!

  40. Green fridge | JANleyssens Says:

    [...] Posted on December 7, 2010 by leyssensjan On Homedesignfind (HDF) I found this really clever idea on how to turn a freezer in a low energy fridge without any cost (except for [...]

  41. Joe De Maria Says:

    I'm an Italian Ceramic Industrial engineer.i've designed and trained 4000 rural women in Nigeria on how to produce GREEN fridge for keeping fresh food/meat/fish to remain fresh for 36 days without power.they use same to reserve insuline for 30days.I'm ready to train rural women to master this technology anywhere in the world FREE by INVITATION.

  42. Steffen Says:

    wow really nice! I was looking for something like this and now I found this website. thank you and can put my fridge on Ebay… ;)

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