Mr. Electricity Ranks Refrigerators & Electrical Wasters

September 8, 2010

For those wondering if they or their friends have attained the 21st century status of being electricity hogs, they might wish to get familiar with Michael Bluejay, known to many as Mr. Electricity on his website. He publishes useful information about how much electrical energy various home appliances use, and often waste. He starts off with the second biggest user, the refrigerator (The top rank goes to the air conditioner). In most homes the refrigerator is the second-largest user of electricity (13.7%), right after the air conditioner (16%). (Dept. of Energy).

Bluejay refers to his lifestyle as that of a minimalist, saying saving electricity is about more than saving money. “Saving electricity doesn’t just save money, it also saves the environment.”

He goes on to state that facts like this are news to a lot of people. “After all, when you plug something into the wall, it seems clean enough — you don’t see or smell any pollution, like you do with your car. But the pollution is there — it just happens at the power plant.”

What this means to today’s electricity gobbling homeowners involves either using less electricity in certain cases or sometimes just better, or newer appliances. Consumers can start lowering appliance electricity use by choosing more efficient appliances. With most appliances you save energy by using them less, but you can’t very well do that with your fridge. The main way to save money with your fridge is to use an efficient model.

Bluejay elaborates on efficient refrigerators: “New fridges aren’t just a little more efficient, they’re incredibly more efficient. A 1986-era 18 c.f. fridge uses 1400 kWh a year, while a modern energy-efficient model uses only 350 kWh — a whopping 75% reduction. At 15¢ kWh, trading in a pre-1986 fridge for a new efficient one would save about $158 a year in electricity costs. And some older fridges are even worse than the average.”

He adds an important consideration to the numbers he uses: keep the ice maker turned off. . “If you trade in an old fridge without an icemaker for an icemaker-equipped fridge, and you run the icemaker, you might not see any savings.”

If the fridge was made before 2001, “almost certainly trade it in.,” he says. “Older fridges are wildly inefficient. The best modern models use less than half of what 1993-2000 fridges used.”

For those ready to get a new refrigerator, he adds this counsel: “Get an EnergyStar model. In the U.S., look for the Energy Star label, which identifies fridges that are at least 20% more efficient than standard models.

There is much worthwhile information on Mr. Electricity’s website. A visit is more then worth the time.


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Glenn Meyers

Writer, documentary producer, and director. Meyers is a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.
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