BETTER REFRIGERATORS: THE COLD FACT
One-fifth of the electricity used in the average U.S. home feeds the steel box that dominates the kitchen. America’s 110 million refrigerators tax utilities and they also release pollutants. Power plants would produce 115 billion pounds of carbon dioxide a 5year running those appliances and they would eat 77 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity – if all were 1993 models.
Many are older, so the true figures are higher. In addition, 275 million pounds of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as a refrigerant and in insulation are time bombs in current models. However, much more efficient refrigerators will hit the market within the next year or two. To encourage improvements, 24 companies sponsored a contest to build the best new prototype.
The two finalists are Frigidaire and Whirlpool, and the winner, soon to be announced, will collect million dollars. Key innovations will doubtless include a vacuum-sealed insulation system, polymer door gaskets and compressors, and improved refrigerating and defrosting cycles.
“We call the new technology ‘the golden carrot’ because of the incentives,” says Mike L’Ecuyer of the Environmental Protection Agency. If current models were that good, carbon dioxide emissions would drop by at least 28 billion pounds. Power consumption – and consumers’ bills – would drop by 25 percent. And by 1998 all new models must be CFC free.
Mark the best choice.
1. Lines 1 -2, ‘the steel box’ refers to the ________ .
a) electricity b) U.S. home c) kitchen d) refrigerator
2. What are ‘time bombs’ (line 9) in current models?
a) 275 million pounds of ozone. C) Insulation systems.
b) Chlorofluorocarbons. d) True figures.
3. Which of the following is not new for a refrigerator?
a) It has a vacuum-sealed insulation system.
b) CFCs are used as a refrigerant.
c) It has an improved defrosting cycle.
d) Door gaskets and compressors are made of polymer.
4. One disadvantage of a refrigerator which is not mentioned in the text is that it
a) releases pollutants
b) uses up too much electricity
c) is power consuming
d) is too cold to keep fresh fruit