The Cold Shoulder

Letting go of your fridge may be difficult for most of us. (Photo: richardjohnson/Shutterstock)

There’s a fascinating home energy conservation piece over at the New York Times about the .5 percent of Americans who are opting to live sans refrigerators (yes they even eschew ENERGY STAR models). Is this a reasonable method of cutting back on energy costs and curbing carbon emissions? Or is living an icebox-free existence an egregiously drastic way to save green while going green? A penny for your thoughts?

I have to admire the green gumption of the fridge-less folks profiled in the article and the resourceful ways that they cope with their decidedly inconvenient lifestyle choices. Some have made dietary changes; some use coolers, mini-fridges, or small freezers; some poor souls go without cold beer. But as the article’s author points out, even many fervent environmentalists view living fridge-free as excessive and/or impractical.

I’ll let you check out the three-page article yourself and decide what you think from there. Would you be able to survive for a week, a month, even a year living without one of the biggest energy hogs in the home?

For a brief moment after reading the piece, the “intrepid journalist” persona emerged and I considered going fridge-free for a of couple days. But like 95.5 percent of Americans, I need my bagged lettuce from Trader Joe’s to be chilled, my milk unspoilt, and my low-fat cherry yogurt to not smell funny. Call me a wimp, but I just can’t do it. I’ll vigilantly control the heating and cooling of my apartment, prohibit parabens and petrochemicals from crossing my threshold, and live in semi-darkness, but without the reassuring hum of the refrigerator, I’d probably go mad. Or hungry.

If you find the concept of completely pulling the plug on your refrigerator to be slightly horrifying, there are plenty of simple ways to keep it frosty and energy-efficient. I list 10 of them here.