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May 22nd, 2008:

Fridges to Help Slow Global Warming

The answer isn’t ‘leave the fridge door open’! 

It seems that Australia’s peak science research body is working had on the global warming problem.  The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have been working on smart fridges, that is fridges that talk to each other over a network. 

 Westinhouse Fridge

The humble refrigerator is the biggest current drain in the normal household, but it only draws power occasionally on a 30 minute to one hour cycle.  The CSIRO have reasoned that if fridges can examine real-time power grid usage statistics and talk to each other, and then co-ordinate their power requirements power usage peaks can be evened-out. 

Although this means that total energy usage will be unchanged, at least the demand will be more even.  This would result in the need for fewer power stations to cover the peaks.  An obvious extension to this development is to incorporate this development into other power-hungry devices that have some “discretion” about when they draw power – such as hot water units.

Source: The Age [^]