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Old Refrigerator Energy Awareness Contest Winner

October 14, 2013 — UW Recycling won the University of Wyoming’s first-ever “Old Refrigerator” Energy Awareness Contest, sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Committee.

The “winning” refrigerator was a beauty -- an original 1946 General Electric. Replacing the unit with a new Energy Star unit will reduce electricity consumption (and associated greenhouse gas emissions) by an estimated 30-40 percent, says Milt Geiger, UW Extension energy specialist. He says the replacement fridge also has much better performance, including a functioning freezer and more space. Ozone-damaging refrigerants were safely removed from the 1946 model and it was then recycled.

“The fridge was here at least 12 years ago when our longest-serving employee arrived,” says Jim Goodman, Recycling supervisor.

“The new fridge clearly shows what energy efficiency is -- increasing the productivity of electrons,” Geiger says. “There is more useable fridge with less electricity inputs.”

The Campus Sustainable Committee received many very creative and worthy entries, showing the impact office “plug loads” have on UW’s electricity consumption, Geiger adds.

The Campus Sustainability Committee offers the following tips to anyone on campus that has an old refrigerator:

Consolidate -- Do you or colleagues really need your own fridge or can you share with others? A full refrigerator is a more efficient refrigerator.

Leave the old fridge at home -- Just because UW pays for the electricity does not mean it is OK to bring in your pea-green 35-year-old fridge onto campus. Rocky Mountain Power offers Laramie residents a $40 incentive to pick up and recycle old refrigerators.

Replace -- You can evaluate the performance of your office fridge using the EPA’s “Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator.” UW Physical Plant workers will gladly pick up your old fridge at no cost.

To learn more about the Campus Sustainability Committee, visit

The 1946 General Electric refrigerator on the right was replaced by the more spacious and energy efficient model on the left.

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