We often take for granted the centerpiece of the modern kitchen, but do you really know how much you’re paying monthly to run your refrigerator? Old and inefficient refrigerators end up costing significantly more over their lifetime due to the wasted electricity, and in some cases, inefficient cooling which can lead to faster spoiling of groceries.
Rave Energy's in-house geek - The Boy Wonder - have compiled a list of some good practices to follow when choosing to buy a refrigerator to help find more efficient options that will save you more money over the course of its lifetime.
Energy-efficient Refrigerators: Are they really that important?
Newer refrigerators tend to be more efficient than older models, and this is a good rule of thumb to follow when considering buying a new fridge. Minimum energy efficiency standards for all electronic appliances are set by the federal government, and these continue to be tightened over time as we develop better, cleaner and more efficient technology. Also, all electromechanical devices tend to lose efficiency over time due to regular wear and tear; this means older refrigerators are more prone to degradation and get more and more inefficient over time. Refrigerators typically last between 12 and 15 years, after which they start to get more and more costly to keep operating.
The federal ENERGY STAR program has a free calculator available to use on their website that can help you estimate your potential monthly savings for upgrading to a modern fridge.
Feature Efficiency: Which features are important?
Lots of modern refrigerators have a lot more features than are really necessary, and some of these features actually can end up using more electricity than is really needed, adding to your monthly bill. Some relatively standardized features such as automatic ice makers are so efficient already that they barely add to your electric bill. Other features like in-door ice and water dispensers and automatic freezer defrosters are actually really inefficient and will end up costing you a lot more.
Nonetheless, the hands-down most valuable feature in the newest generations of refrigerators is the integration of “smart” technologies. This allows your fridge to be internet-connected, which will allow it to do so much more to help save you money. Depending on where you live, some smart models are eligible for time-of-day electricity pricing which will program your fridge to run the most energy-intensive processes during the times of day when electricity is cheapest.
Finally, most refrigerators tend to be configured in one of four ways: freezer-on-top, freezer-on-bottom, side-by-side and french doors with bottom freezer drawer. Of these, we’ve identified the original freezer-on-top model to be the most energy-efficient.
Which size is right for you?
The larger your family, the larger fridge you’ll need. Often, consumers will think that they can save money by buying a smaller fridge and stuffing it full. Unfortunately, this will actually end up ruining the designed routes for airflow and ventilation, causing your groceries to be more prone to spoilage and rotting.
On the other hand, for smaller households or households that frequently shop for groceries in small quantities, smaller fridges are a better option than larger premium models. This will help you save money because as you would expect, smaller fridges consume less energy than bigger ones.
Also, it is very important to accurately measure the space you intend on placing the new fridge! This may seem obvious, but it is a really, really common mistake that causes the hassle of having to return and be forced to choose an alternative model that will actually fit. Make sure to account for at least one inch of clearance on all sides, and at least one and a half to two inches on the back of the unit. This is really important so the fridge can “breathe” and will actually improve the fridge’s energy efficiency.
ENERGY STAR Certification
The federal government has launched the ENERGY STAR certification program to help you get the most efficient refrigerator for your needs. You can look for the ENERGY STAR label anywhere refrigerators are sold, both online and in-store. The federal ENERGY STAR website even has a product finder that can help you choose the right model to address your needs.
EnergyGuide is another federal program designed to help you better understand and estimate how much you would pay in operational costs to keep your fridge running. Make sure to look for the yellow and black EnergyGuide labels that appear on select appliances online and in stores. These labels will give you a clear estimate for the model’s annual operating costs based on the average national rate for electricity of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (12 kWh). For a better estimate, you can substitute in your own kWh rate to better understand what it would cost you to run the particular model.
Based on the age and wear and tear on your fridge, upgrading to modern energy-efficient models may end up saving you a significant amount on your monthly bill.
About Rave Energy
Founded in 2019, the Rave Energy team consists of engineers, analysts, energy innovators, and former industry executives. Together, they serve a broad array of private and public sector clients throughout the United States, providing strategic advice on energy-related matters including procurement, efficiency consulting, energy curtailment, sustainability planning services, and renewable power. More at http://www.raveenergy.net.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought the global economy to a halt everywhere across the planet, most governments have enforced lockdown and social distancing throughout particular states or provinces and also in some cases, nationwide.
Demand for electricity during Covid-19 Pandemic
The restriction on economic activity has resulted in decreased demands for oil and gas as well as electricity. The demand for electricity has fallen by around 5-10%, this year from the previous year at this same time. Covid-19 pandemic has also impacted the supply of electricity and has also resulted in a large reduction in greenhouse gas and air pollution.
Electricity prices have also fallen due to self-quarantine and social distancing resulting in reduced economic activities. The prices of other energy commodities like Oil, LNG, and coal have also fallen due to reduced demand leading to lower electricity prices as well.
Effects on electricity production during Covid-19 Pandemic
The impact of the coronavirus crisis on electricity production and operational activities has been far-reaching, to say the least, with many power projects being placed on hold or being canceled due to uncertainty.
The overall situation has led to a fall in utility revenues in many countries and many have already started to send their workers to home due to the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This crisis is reshaping our electricity markets as we try to diversify our energy supplies and prioritize system reliability and resilience through better coordination.
The coronavirus crisis and the indispensable role of electricity
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has given rise to an unprecedented international crisis. It has had serious impacts on global economic activity and resulted in recovery efforts through stimulus packages from countries across the globe.
In most countries electricity provide an indispensable role in our everyday life. As most people are locked in their homes and are teleworking to make social distancing work. We are witnessing a society which has become dependent on digital technology and the energy used to power this digital technology we take for granted today is none other than electricity.
Access to electricity is critical in order to fight this pandemic as medical equipment and emergency services depend on them. The future of electricity after the coronavirus crisis will evolve as this crisis has taught us the extensive and expanding role that electricity plays in our everyday life.
The future of electricity and our economic recovery
The future of electricity and our economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis depends on meeting the long term carbon reduction goals to avoid climate change and to bring back sustainable economic growth.
We should harness the power of clean energy sources like renewable energy to bring back sustainable economic growth. We have to transition ourselves and commit to clean energy through pursuing energy efficiency policies that have already been successful in creating jobs, reducing energy costs and protecting the environment for the future.
The future of electricity after the coronavirus crisis depends on our ability to individually and at government level to prioritize the use of sustainable clean energy sources and to better protect ourselves from future environmental and economic crisis.
Although there has been a global decline in the consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Net crude oil imports is going to increase due to the decline in U.S. crude oil production in the third quarter of 2020.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) also forecasts that commercial consumption of natural gas and residential consumption of natural gas are both to decrease in 2020 from 5.8% to 7.1% respectively. This is due to warmer than normal weather as well as due to a slowing economy.
The economic slowdown and the stay at home orders will also affect the U.S. electricity consumption especially in the commercial sector due to closure of many businesses leading to a 4.2% fall in retail sales of electricity to the industrial sector in 2020 according to one forecast of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).