Green Your Drink -- Ice
Give a toast to the environment with this week's tips for finding (and making) light-on-the-planet beverages.
Tip #2: Stock up on the cold stuff
The dog days of summer call for ice by the bucket. But relying on a refrigerator's automatic ice maker--which uses heaters and extra energy--can supersize the environmental impact of your drinks. Making ice in trays, on the other hand, requires little more energy than what's already being used to drop the freezer's temperature. Of course, letting chilled air tumble out of the freezer when you open the door to grab cubes can also waste energy, but it uses less energy in the long run than auto ice makers, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. To minimize energy use and keep the convenience of ready-made ice, make several trays of ice before a party and keep the cubes in an ice bucket on the counter as you serve up drinks. Want to save more? Consider a top-mounted freezer: side-by-side fridge and freezer models use up to 30 percent more energy.
Update: Several commenters have asked about the efficiency of bottom-mounted freezers. According to Energy Star, refrigerators with freezers at the top generally use less energy than those with freezers at the bottom (472 kilowatt-hours per year versus 551 kilowatt-hours per year). Both use less energy than typical side-by-side models.