Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fridge

One year ago, Ottawa resident Rachel Muston took her desire to reduce her carbon footprint to a new level and unplugged her refrigerator. For good. Now, she keeps soda bottles filled with water in a freezer in the basement which she rotates to a cooler upstairs containing the few perishables she keeps on hand.

Beth Barnes from Frankfort, Kentucky uses a dorm-sized minifridge.

Duncan Campbell has been without a fridge for three years. His is a mostly bean and grain centered diet and he cans vegetables from his garden.

This may sound radical and the Brooklyn Green Team is not likely to present the No Fridge challenge any time soon, and while experts say that refrigerators use less energy than you would think, it's a lifestyle choice that makes a statement. Perhaps when others hear of the huge, seemingly impossible sacrifices other everyday people are making, the steps we need to be taking right now won't seem so overwhelming.

According to Marty O'Gorman, vice-president of Frigidaire, about 380 kilowatt-hours a year are used by an 18-cubic-foot Energy Star-rated Frigidaire. The cost to homeowners is around $40 dollars a year. Frigidaire's smallest minifridge averages out to about $34.

This kind of living would most likely be easier for those who live alone and for those who have more time to plan and cook meals (no more t.v. dinners or frozen pizzas). Some critics believe the lifestyle would result in more frequent trips to the store, since perishable foods would have to be purchased on a day-to-day basis. This is time consuming and uses more gasoline for car trips. For those who live within walking distance of the grocery store, this wouldn't be an issue.

Congratulations to those brave souls adventurous enough and environmentally committed to making such a huge change. For the full story and tips on how the rest of us can save energy with our fridges, click here.

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