Monday, June 9, 2008

Still no fridge

Yep, we are a full 8 months into life without a fridge and are happier than ever.

Here are a few extra benefits we learned this weekend:

  1. Its really easy to pack for the cottage when your fridge is a cooler

  2. Silence - the cottage we stayed at had a fridge and after not hearing it for so long, the hum from the fridge seemed extra loud

I get quite a few questions about how we are doing this. The main question is how we keep food cold.

Now that it is no longer cold outside, we make the ice for the cooler that we use instead of a fridge in the small chest freezer we keep in the basement. For the time being we are able to keep the cooler cold with two 2L pop bottles of ice which we change daily.

I'm also often asked if not having a fridge means we have to buy food every day. Thankfully the answer to that is no. We get most of our produce (food that goes in the cooler) from the organic farmers market which I go to once a week. I found that this spring as things got warmer and the house got too warm to store root veggies outside the cooler, I did have to make 1 or 2 extra shopping trips mid week. I'm hoping though that since we have a pretty decent veg garden this year that mid week shopping will be replaced by garden picking. :)

Also we have found that being restricted in the amount of food we can buy means we waste a lot less. We now only buy the amount of food that will fit in the cooler. Which interestingly is about the amount of food that will last us a week.

As the summer goes on I think we'll have to switch to a smaller cooler because I think the demand for ice will be too great. This also should be easier to do once we are feeding ourselves mostly from the garden.


Melissa said...

this may be a stupid question, but does it actually save electricity if you are still running a freezer?

Green Grrl said...

Hey Melissa,

Not a stupid question at all! In fact we get asked that a lot.

We kept our freezer for one main reason:
It's part of our local food strategy.

Here in Ottawa the winters are long so hubby and I preserve a lot of food to get us through. We do dry and can food as well but I find some fruits and veggies just do better in the freezer than they do when canned or dried.

Other reasons that our freezer is good are:
1. Its a new, small, energy star, chest freezer (much more efficient than upright freezers)
2. We keep it in the basement which is cold so it doesn't have to work too hard.

The thing that I've found neat about trying to reduce our energy use is that there are so many combinations of reductions possible - we were able to choose what works for us.

That means no fridge, no clothes dryer, a lot less electric heat and efficiently using our oven.

But we haven't cut down on our tv watching, or stopped using the dishwasher etc.

We probably could have kept the fridge and stopped watching tv but I think that might have put me in divorce court. ;-)

Green Grrl said...

Oh and I should have said....

On our last electricity bill we were at 4.8kWh per day.

This time last year we were at 17.3kWh per day!


Melissa said...

cool...that all makes sense (and ditto on the tv in my house :)

congrats on your reduced usage, that's awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Rachel, its pretty bogus for you to say you don't have a fridge since you have a freezer. Granted it uses a bit less than a fridge, maybe 200kWh/yr less its still a refrigerated appliance.
Do you have a power bar on your computer or consumer electronics which enables you to turn them off completely when not in use (i.e. standby power in a home is a perverse use of energy, as much as a refrigerated appliance.)
do you have a cable box for your tv? again big energy user.

Green Grrl said...

Hey Anonymous,
I've always thought I've been pretty upfront about having a freezer. Originally hubby and I had the freezer and the fridge. And a very old inefficient fridge at that (was using over 1300kwh per year). Still seems worthwhile to me to have unplugged the fridge.

I totally agree with you about standby power. We were shocked to find out what some of our electronics use in standby mode (we used a kill-a-watt to figure this out and I totally recommend it - you can borrow them from the Ottawa Public Library). Since then we've made sure that all our high consuming electronics are on power bars.

Also you are absolutely correct about cable boxes. Anyone reading this should def. consider unplugging theirs when their tv is not in use. They really use a huge amount of electricity.

Luckily this is something we don't have to worry about though as we don't have cable.