Monday, September 29, 2008


Although I haven’t jumped on the ‘green’ bandwagon yet, I have been trying to find ways to save my family some money by reducing energy usage. I have read article after article about how to reduce energy costs and learned that some of the best ways to do this is by simply keeping your lights off not to run your air conditioning. Easy, right? Well, I tried these things and realized all too soon that only turning on lights when it was absolutely needed caused many a accident and the lack of air conditioning in the house was making everyone cranky.
    So I started to research again. Another article I read was about refrigerator energy use. I learned that the refrigerator uses an average of 20% of the worlds energy. I was then shocked when I found out that in the U.S. an estimated $85 billion worth of food is thrown out every year. 85 billion dollars! The average household of four throws away 14 percent of their groceries, much of which is produce. That is a waste of not only our money as consumers, but the money to grow, harvest and ship the food.
    I figured there has to be a way to reduce the energy usage and to lower the waste of our food. I learned that one way we can reduce the waste is by extending the life of our produce.  There are several factors that cause us to loose produce quickly. One of which is heat. Warm temperatures speed up the bacteria in the produce, causing fruits and vegetables to spoil quickly. The second reason is cold air. Temperatures that are too low damage produce and cause it to wilt and decompose. Wilting lettuce is an indication that a refrigerator is running too cold.
      I learned that the best temperature to keep produce fresh is between 38-40 degrees F.  But the problem with a refrigerators thermometer is that it measures the temperature of the air in the refrigerator, not the food itself. How then, do we fix this problem?
      Well, one product I have found is a new thermometer called the RefrigeratorSaver. This thermometer is surrounded in a silicone like gel that mimics food, helping us tell the temperature of our food, not the temperature of the air around it. And because food temperature is more stable than air temperature, it requires less energy to cool. Thus allowing us to turn the temperature down to save energy without compromising our produce.   
      After putting the RefrigeratorSaver in my refrigerator, I realized that the difference between the air temperature and the food temperature was off by a little over 2 degrees.  And I found out that each degree you lower your refrigerator yields an average of 8% energy savings. That means by lowering my refrigerator to the right temperature saved me money by extending the life of the produce, thus saving me money in my grocery bill, and by reducing my energy usage by 16%.
       After doing the research and trying out new things, I have realized that I may have joined in the ‘green’ revolution after all. Maybe not as consciously as I would like, but I feel like I have taken that first step into helping and protecting our awesome world.

1 sweet thoughts:

The Odd Family said...

That's interesting about the lettuce. I usally learn mine is too cold when it freezes the lettuce!