Energy Efficiency Improvements for Refrigerator/Freezers Using Prototype Doors Containing Gas-Filled Panel Insulating Systems
Energy efficiency improvements in domestic refrigeratorlfreezers are directly influenced by the overall thermal performance of the cabinet and doors. An advanced system for reducing heat gain is Gas-Filled Panel thermal insulation technology. Gas-Filled Panels contain a low-conductivity, inert gas at atmospheric pressure and employ a reflective baffle to suppress radiation and convection within the gas. This paper presents energy use test results for a 1993 model 500 liter top mount refrigerator/freezer operated with its original doors and with a series of alternative prototype doors. Gas-Filled Panel technology was used in two types of prototype refrigeratorlfreezer doors. In one design, panels were used in composite with foam in standard metal door pans; this design yielded no measurable energy savings. In the other design, special polymer door pans were fitted with panels that fill nearly all of the available insulation volume; this design yielded a 6.5% increase in energy efficiency for the entire refrigerator/freezer. The EPA Refrigerator Analysis computer program has been used to predict the change in daily energy consumption with the alternative doors. The computer model also projects a 25% energy efficiency improvement for asrefrigerator/freezer that would use Gas-Filled Panel insulation throughout the cabinet as well as the doors.