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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is the Beer Fridge the Source of Global Warming?

What will you do when they come for your beer fridge?

Denise Young, a researcher at the University of Alberta, wants beer drinkers to pull the plug on the ultimate luxury: the beer fridge. Environmentalists issued a report today that claims homes that use older refrigerators to keep beverages cold are contributing to global warming.

The reason is older model refrigerators suck as much as 50 percent more energy when compared to modern units. Many North American households do not retire old refrigerators when newer units are purchased. Instead, the old units are placed in garages, basements or game rooms and given the new task of keeping a chilled supply of beer, soda, wine and bottled water at the ready. The study estimated that as many as 30 percent of homes have a second refrigerator.

The University of Alberta study recommends that governments offer to buy back inefficient beer fridges. The researchers say that if beer drinkers gave up their beer fridges that enough energy would be saved to power tens of thousands of homes. They also note that a refrigerator that is more than 10 years old costs consumers $250 annually to operate.

"People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles," says Joanna Yarrow, director of Beyond Green, a sustainable development consultancy in the UK. "Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people – let's hope it has an effect."

They almost had me convinced until they called the beer fridge a "frivolous luxury." The microwave oven, indoor plumbing and the incandescent light bulb are far more expendable when compared to making sure that there is plenty of cold beer available. Besides, this is not wasteful -- in fact, I consider it to be a form of recycling. Beer drinkers are keeping the beer fridge out of the waste stream. This is a noble act.

Long live the beer fridge!


William Nordmann said...

Don't forget the beer fridge doesn't need to run at the coldest setting. Set it at the warmest and the electricity used will be a lot less . A fridge runs around 40F most the time for food beer can be 50F. Unless you drink a lot of Macrobrew that needs to be ice cold to keep from tasting bad.

thename said...

Good point about the waste stream. Better idea? Recycle the inefficient fridge into something good (like a smoker) and purchase a cheap, newer, more efficient unit. Even better? Make the smoker and start digging.


Today global warming news is very danger news for earth life. Now this global warming issues takes big picture for this world. Now we are aware about this issue.

Mike said...

I agree. What's the point of throwing away a fridge that can be reused? That seems like it'd probably be worse for the environment. Then again, I'm not entirely certain what the impact of old refrigerators truly is on the environment. Besides, aren't things like driving and the major pollution caused by manufacturing stuff like new refrigerators probably a greater impact? I for one like my beer cold anyway. There's nothing worse than having to drink it warm.

Anonymous said...

Global warming is cyclical and is caused by variation in orbit and solar output. If you check out the history of our planet you will see many ice ages and warm periods. Human activity has nothing to do with it.