182. SUPER-EFFICIENT CHEST FRIDGE
One of the basic principles of sustainability guru Amory Lovins’ idea of Natural Capitalism is that almost everything in the modern world is so appallingly designed that getting dozens of times more productivity out of the same raw materials should not be very hard. A great demonstration of this is the refrigerator, or more specifically, this refrigerator:
Its creator, an off-the-grid experimenter from Australia named Tom Chalko, realised that since cold air is heavier than warm air, when you open the door of a traditional vertical fridge all the cold air simply falls out. On the other hand, the horizontal chest freezers you see in supermarkets can basically be left wide open because cold air does not travel upwards. He bought a chest freezer for a few hundred dollars and fitted it with a thermostat to make it run at the temperature of a fridge. It runs for about 2 minutes an hour and then turns off, thus using about 100 watt-hours per day, or less than one-tenth that of a standard fridge. Here’s what the inventor says about it:
“The biggest limitations are our habits and mediocre attitudes, not technology or cost … It is obvious that a truly energy efficient fridge does not cost any more money than a mediocre one. It actually costs less. It also has extra features, such as digital temperature display that gives you full control on the temperature settings inside. Nearly every household on Earth has a fridge that totally wastes at least 1 kWh of energy a day (365 kWh a year).” (Source: http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/chest_fridge.pdf and http://www.mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html).You can get instructions on how to make your own chest fridge here.
-- by Roland