Refrigerators are the only appliances that operate 365 days a year, 24/7, making them the biggest energy zappers in the home. How much electricity do they use? "The amount of energy saved in a year by more efficient refrigerator usage could be enough to light every house in the United States for more than four and a half months straight," according to Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, the authors of .
Energy-saving units are readily available wherever new fridges are sold. Research from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers reveals that new refrigerators are over 30 percent more efficient than models sold in 2000 and that the average refrigerator made in 2008 consumed 3 percent less energy than those made in the previous year. In short, new refrigerators use less energy than a 60-watt lightbulb that's left on 24 hours a day.
That's illuminating news for homeowners focused on how to immediately cut their energy bill in an eco-friendly way—and pocket some savings during the Energy Star Appliance stimulus program slated to roll out in late 2009/early 2010. However, with so many choices, we've found that shopping for a new fridge can be a little intimidating.