I’ve been engaged in an ongoing effort to dramatically reduce my food refrigeration footprint. You can read about my past experiments here:
The Fridgeless Experiment (Oct 16, 2019; original article published in 2011 in Austin EcoNetwork News)
Fridgeless Experiment Part 2 (Jan 2, 2019)
Fridge Experiment Continued (Jun 23, 2019)
My latest experiment (which I wrote about in the June 23 post) was to unplug the fridge for a few days at a time, plug it back in for 2-3 days (long enough for the freezer-packs to freeze back up), then unplug it for a few days til the cooling function was nearly gone, at which point plug it back in til the freezer-packs refroze, and so on like that. While this reduced my electricity usage considerably, and kept the food cool, it required a lot of my attention. And I also found out that the fridge tended to pick up yucky food odors easily while it was turned off, even though it stayed cool the whole time. Something about lack of air circulation, I’m sure.
Finally, the other day, I hit on what appears to be a great solution for me: I found a used micro-fridge for sale on Craigslist. Plugged in on the warmest setting, it keeps my veggies and yogurt cool, yet is very quiet and does not cause any spikes in electricity usage as a big fridge does. This is the first time I have used a refrigeration device while still being able to keep my daily usage to less than 1kWh. With the big fridge, it was always 2 or 3 kWh per day in the summer; 2 kWh per day in winter.
From now on, the big energy-hog fridge is reserved for special events (such as our 4th of July block party, when it will be needed to store watermelons and the “Happy Birthday America” cake and such) or times of multiple houseguests/housemates. And come to think of it, my most frequent houseguests share a lot of my lifestyle habits, so the tiny fridge will suffice almost all of the time.
It was great logging on to my FPL Energy Dashboard this morning and seeing that ZERO for yesterday. (Zero does not literally mean I used no electricity; it just means the total came in under 1kWh.)