If you're keen on cubes, you may want to consider shutting off your automatic ice machine and reverting to the good ol' tray method.
According to the California Energy Commission, refrigerators and freezers gobble up one sixth of all energy used by U.S homes. The culprit: automatic ice machines, according to research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
This shouldn't come as a big surprise, considering most ice makers use an electric motor and need to be hooked-up to a water valve, heating unit, plumbing line, and electrical circuit to crank out the ice that makes a refreshing clank in your glassware.
After comparing four technologies, it was revealed that the automatic dispensers demand up to 20% of electricity feeding the appliance; 8-15% of which is used to fuel in-unit electric coils that heat up to melt and release recently frozen cubes.
The study's methods will be used by other labs for product tests and comparisons before the Department of Energy (DOE) can incorporate their measurements into regulatory standards. But the DOE isn't waiting to take action: an additional 84 kWh will be added to the energy efficiency rating of ice maker equipped fridges and minimum efficiency standards for refrigeration technologies are set to be raised by 25% over the next 3 years.
Our recommendation: switch off the auto-ice and invest in silicone trays. Think of picking brain, bone and robot-shaped frozen treats off the kitchen floor as renewable fun--and much easier than bending over backwards to afford that extra hundred dollars in energy bills.
Find out how much energy your refrigerator/freezer takes to operate with this Energy Star calculator.
Image Credit: Flickr user TherapyCatGuardian (cc)