Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Mired in scandal and on the brink of another conflict in the Middle East, the White House brought back the banal today. The Obama administration announced a new goal to combat climate change—by making commercial refrigerators more efficient.
An announcement issued this afternoon presented two new rules that, if implemented, “could cut energy bills by up to $28 billion and cut emissions by over 350 million metric tons of CO2 over 30 years." The statement noted that "This reduction in CO2 emissions would be the equivalent of taking nearly 109 million new cars of the road for one year. Or put another way, the energy saved from these proposed rules would be equal to the amount of electricity used by 50 million homes in a year.”
Refrigeration may seem like the dullest of the dull, but fridges suck down energy, just like Americans wolf down their contents. Commercial refrigeration accounts for around 4 percent of total commercial building energy consumption, according to a 2009 report by the US Department of Energy.
The humble fridge has long been on the front lines of going green—the EPA has been phasing out the refrigerants hydrochlorofluorocarbons as part of the ozone-defending Montreal Protocol, planning to completely phase out the most common, HCFC-22, by 2030.
Today’s refrigerator news comes on the tail of an announcement from earlier this month, one that raised the efficiency requirements for metal halide lamp fixtures, “often seen inside big box retail stores and sports stadiums.” So basically, they're starting with the big stuff that most people won't notice or won't feel annoyed by. Unless, I guess, you own a stadium or a deli.
Sure, it’s not the most exciting change, but it’s nice to hear that green refrigerators aren’t just an unfortunate trend from the ‘70s.