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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Cool Fix for a Hot Planet

Air Date: Week of

A listener from Canton, Ohio offers his suggestion to fight climate change at home: wrap your refrigerator.



GELLERMAN: Maybe you heard the old joke that goes, "If your refrigerator is running, go catch it!" Well, one of our listeners is doing just that. Steve McArthur of Canton, Ohio, caught up with his refrigerator and found a way to save energy. Here’s his Cool Fix for a Hot Planet.

MCARTHUR: Approximately ten years ago when I purchased my home refrigerator, I noticed that it seemed to be using quite a bit of energy. It ran pretty often in the summertime, and I thought there’s gotta be a way to cut down on the energy usage. So I documented the amount of time that the refrigerator was running, and I went to my local home supply store, and purchased a couple of sheets of one-inch foam insulation. I secured it to the refrigerator with tape, two-inch tape, and was careful not to cover any of the vents on the refrigerator. I covered the top, the sides, and the front door. As I had the refrigerator in operation, I again timed how long it was running to keep it cool, and I, in my estimation, I used approximately one third as much energy as I had before insulating.

Some people don’t like the looks of styrofoam insulation on the refrigerator, so when I have guests over, I simply just take off the insulation off the front door, and set it aside until my company leaves. And over the last couple years, I replaced the tape on the insulation with magnetic strips that have adhesive on them, so it’s real easy just to pull the insulation off, set it aside, and then when I’m by myself I just put the insulation right back on the refrigerator. It’s worked really well for me.

GELLERMAN: Steve McArthur says insulating his refrigerator means a cooler kitchen in the summer. Hot stuff Steve! And for sending your cool fix our way, we’re going to send you a very cool metallic blue Living on Earth tire gauge. Use it to keep your tires correctly inflated and you’d save hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs, and if we all did it, the nation could save over a billion gallons of gas – that’s according to a study from Carnegie Mellon University.

If you or someone you know has a Cool Fix for a Hot Planet, let us know. If we use your idea on the air, you too will get an LOE tire gauge. Our listener line is 800-218-9988. That’s 800-218-99 88. Or email coolfix – that’s one word – at loe.org. That’s coolfix at loe.org.

And don’t be shy – we’re always happy to hear what you think about our show. Our postal address is 20 Holland Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144.

GELLERMAN: Coming up – we sing the praises of the car – and truck – electric. Stay plugged in to Living on Earth!

ANNOUNCER: Support for the Environmental Health Desk at Living on Earth comes from the Cedar Tree Foundation. Support also comes from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund for coverage of population and the environment. This is Living on Earth on PRI: Public Radio International.



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