Reply To: Alternatives and improvements to refrigerators and freezers

Centre for Appropriate Technology Discussion Energy Alternatives and improvements to refrigerators and freezers Reply To: Alternatives and improvements to refrigerators and freezers

Luke Barbagallo

Hey Saeed,

Thanks for the great questions. I’ve answered them one by one below.

Do reach out if you require further guidance.


1- What are the existing freezing and refrigeration systems and where are they kept? Are they family suited or are they used holistically by the community? Are they kept in concrete facilities or elsewhere? Are they in a location which is prone to flooding?
There are many types of freezers and refrigerators available from mini bar fridge to large chest refrigerator. Usually refrigeration makes up the majority (estimated up to 70%) of total energy use. They are available in both communal and individual households.
In terms of where the units are kept, it would generally be inside structures or undercover open areas.

2- Are these systems connected directly to solar stations or do they draw power from the grid? How much power do they use?
Depending on the appliance, they use varying amounts of energy; it would really come down to the unit size and it’s efficiency. It is an appropriate assumption to use an estimated consumption of a variety of refrigeration sizes, and that the units are 3-5 years old, and of a mid range price and quality.
It is appropriate to assume that all systems are powered through a solar pv and battery system.

3- What are the amounts of food that are kept and how long are they stored in these systems? What types of food are stored?

In some cases the community would be storing meat from whole animals in a chest freezer which could be a number of weeks though land potentially over a month in some cases. Working to that would give you an upper case to shoot for which could in turn be suitable for estimating short term storage as well. It also an appropriate assumption that the the refrigeration appliances will always be filled at close to full capacity, which may affect the energy consumption.

4- Are there any cultural factors that should be taken into consideration when storing food? E.g. would it be acceptable to store food in an underground concrete facility?
To the best of our knowledge, we are unaware of any cultural factors to consider. Numerous Indigenous nations in Australia practiced food storage, using a variety of methods which included burying (usually by seeds/bunya nuts, wrapped in grasses, and then encased in mud and buried). The other consideration with burying is flooding; there could be substantial risks to any below ground storage during the rainy season, particularly if it at sites that are not occupied year round.