Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Back, sort of-

Meeting over, but body systems and family systems are still recovering from the dislocations, so I'm not quite "all there" yet.

So this will be a bit short. But, I do want to continue with the topic of "refrigerators". Eventually here, we'll have a summary post, that kind of clarifies the whole conversation.

I'm suggesting that folks living in first world cities should all get rid of their refrigerators. Today, if possible.

You don't need it. You can buy any perishable foodstuff you want, today.

You'll be healthier, and wealthier without it. You won't have stockpiles of treats available 24/7- you won't buy them and you won't eat them. The extra walking you do to buy the perishables going into the spaghetti tonight will help, too.

You won't be paying for the electricity to run it. And- most refrigerators are outrageously inefficient.

And- you have to pump their heat twice- once to get it out of the fridge; and often again to get it out of the house. Especially during a heat wave...

A basic fact about current refrigerator design: they're made to attract buyers; NOT to be efficient at keeping food.

All of which means- refrigerators and airconditioners are a HUGE part of the reason power companies build new power-plants- and why the power blacks out during heat waves. Everybody is getting into the fridge to get cold drinks- so the fridge runs more- so the airconditioner runs more- so the power grid can't supply the demand. Hey, we need more power generation.

This is all a by-product of the UNSTATED ASSUMPTION we all make- "if I buy a new machine- the power will be there to run it, and the new power won't cost enough to notice."

Time's up, for that assumption. We still design everything we use as if its power consumption was a very minor consideration.

Why does your new TV pull 100 watts of power? ONLY because to use the slightly better components they could have installed, so that it would pull 50 watts instead, would increase the initial cost of the TV by $30.

And the economists will always say, "Look, it would take you 10 years to get your $30 back just from the electricity you'd save; this isn't worth doing."

Except the electricity is ENORMOUSLY more expensive than the bill from the power company states. Cheap power is what's causing climate change- if we were honest, we'd add the cost of rebuilding New Orleans, and burying the dead there, into the electricity bills for the world.

And refrigerators are a key piece of the whole picture.

More coming.

7 comments:

Mrs. Pivec said...

Wow. This is a seriously new thought for me and I LOVE it! I'm really going to think about what you are saying... I've never even considered it before. I am already beginning to make changes as far as stopping by the store more often on my bike so that I don't need to do the huge grocery runs with the vehicle.

I've been choosing a more eco-conscious lifestyle for about 20 years now, but I have never heard this idea before. Thanks for the food for thought. I'm going to go see what I actually have in there right now! :)

Greenpa said...

mrs. pivec- I'm not surprised you haven't heard it before, as far as I know, I'm the only one saying this, and I just started.

One of those things that's OBVIOUS - once somebody points it out-

:-)

Alina said...

Hmmm... I hear what you are saying... Fridges are, to me, one of the staples of the American lifestyle. Did you ever notice that the typical american fridge is twice the size of the Euro-fridge, no matter what the size of the household?

I considered it your fridge idea, but my conscience is pretty clean in that department. My fridge is about half the size of a normal European, and 4 times smaller than the american monsters (for two people).

But you did make me think of one thing... I have a huuuuuge freezer in my bike garage... that has been running for the last year or so freezing a pile of frozen veggies that came with the house and a couple of steaks at the most. Out of sight, out of mind...

So there! I am unplugging it! Thanks greenpa! I am also trying my own Euro-broke-student-version of sustainable living. I'll be sure to blog about this new and unexpected turn of events on my next post. I would be thrilled if you came by to visit ;) Too bad you don't have trackbacks...

Leslie said...

Who cares what "economists say." It is fun keeping every last penny from power and oil companies. Blogs like yours show that it is possible to cut back. People don't have to be passive consumers.

Vanessa said...

This is a very tempting idea, especially considering I don't have that much in my fridge, and even less in my freezer. But what about my soy milk? And all my condiments? And my margarine? And man, there's nothing like a cold beer in the middle of summer... I think I could maybe try this for spring and fall at least, when Canadian weather is cool, and stick some stuff out on my balcony.

Anonymous said...

My Grandpa always had a couple of beers cooling in the tank behind the toilet. Used it to chill a bottle of champagne on our honeymoon.

WolfMamma said...

Thank you so much Anonymous, the answer was so obvious I never would have thought of it. I'm going right now to put my hand in the tank. I believe you just solved my milk problem (I buy raw from a farmer *gasp* and my bar fridge is too small for the quantity I'm willing to make the drive for. Plus now I'll be using less water do to the decrease of tank size. I'll let you all know if it still has enough pressure to flush well and if I don't end up with cheese.