Refrigerators are responsible for approximately 14 percent of a home's energy use, more than any other kitchen appliance.[1] The average refrigerator in 2002 consumed 1,281 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, emitting 1,832 pounds of CO2—a leading contributor to climate change—annually.[2].

Improving energy efficiency

In the past 20 years, advances in technology have cut refrigerator energy use by more than 60 percent.[3] ENERGY STAR refrigerators are even more efficient, using at least 15 percent less energy than the maximum allowed by federal standards.[4] Today, a new energy-efficient refrigerator that uses just 555 kWh of electricity per year would create 794 pounds of CO2 emissions per year, and cost just $44 to operate, compared to the $102 it would have cost to operate a refrigerator in 2002.[2]

In general, the larger the refrigerator, the more energy it uses. But optional features, such as automatic ice makers, anti-sweat heaters, automatic defrost, and through-the-door water dispensers, further increase a refrigerator's energy demand.

All appliances, even energy-efficient refrigerators, only operate at peak efficiency when properly maintained and operated. Proper maintenance of you refrigerator and setting your refrigerator and freezer temperatures appropriately increase a refrigerator's energy-efficiency.

Subsidies and tax credits

In the US, the purchase of an energy-efficient refrigerator may qualify you for tax incentives at the federal, state, or local levels. For detailed information, see:

External links