Updated 28 October 2013

Help your fridge keep its cool

Fridge efficiency has improved greatly in the 21st century, but it's still among the most energy-hungry household appliances.

Follow these tips for a cooler, greener fridge:

Keep it cool...just not too chilly

Don't make your fridge work so hard to stay cold: keep it in a cool place i.e. not next to the stove or in a warm sunny spot.

Let hot foods cool down before storing them in the fridge (just don’t leave them out longer 90 minutes or there's a risk of bacterial growth). 

Check that the fridge’s temperature isn’t set unnecessarily low: it should be less than 5 °C, but 4 °C is low enough. Freezer temperature should be -18 °C.

Use space optimally

Keep the fridge at least half to three-quarters full: food retains cold better than air does. If you’re low on groceries, simply fill some icetrays, bottles or tupperware with water and use them as "cold-keepers".

Don't overstuff the fridge though -- allow a little space around items so that the cold air can circulate.

If you aren’t using the space optimally, and you regularly find yourself looking at only a few lonely items on the racks, consider swopping your fridge for a new, smaller, less energy-hungry model.

More green refrigerator tips coming soon.

Got a good green tip to share? Email me at or post on the EnviroHealth Forum if it's a planet-saver, we'll publish it.


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