Superefficient Refrigerators: Opportunities and Challenges for Efficiency Improvement Globally
As an energy-intensive mainstream product, residential refrigerators present a significant
opportunity to reduce electricity consumption through energy efficiency improvements.
Refrigerators expend a considerable amount of electricity during normal use, typically
consuming between 100 to 1,000 kWh of electricity per annum. This paper presents the results of
a technical analysis done for refrigerators in support of the Super-efficient Equipment and
Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative. Beginning from a “base case” representative of the
average unit sold in India, we analyze efficiency improvement options and their corresponding
costs to build a cost-versus-efficiency relationship. We then consider design improvement
options that are known to be the most cost effective and that can improve efficiency given
current design configurations. We also analyze and present additional “super-efficient” options,
such as vacuum-insulated panels. We estimate the cost of conserved electricity for the various
options, allowing flexible program design for market transformation programs toward higher
efficiency. We estimate ~160TWh/year of energy savings are cost effective in 2030, indicating
significant potential for efficiency improvement in refrigerators in SEAD economies and China.