Doorless Refrigerator Concept Puts Energy Savings Out In The Open

How many times have you found yourself standing with the refrigerator door open, with no idea what you’re actually looking for? Every time you open the fridge, cool air escapes. Stand there long enough and you’ll probably hear the compressor kick on, turning valuable energy into more cool air to keep your food fresh. If only there were a way to browse your snack selection without wasting this power…

Ben de la Roche, a third-year industrial design student at Massey University in New Zealand recently revealed a new concept in refrigerators that just might solve this longstanding problem. de la Roche’s design eliminates the refrigerator door completely, replacing it with a series of hexagonal chambers that could help reduce food waste as well as energy consumption.


Image via Mark Mitchell/Massey University

I know what you’re thinking: “if just opening the door to look for a snack wastes valuable energy, how could a fridge with no door possibly be more energy-efficient?” Here’s how de la Roche says it will work: when the fridge is empty, the honeycomb-like chambers will remain un-refrigerated, conserving energy. When it comes time to place something in the fridge, swinging “doors” hidden inside will allow the chambers to adjust their configuration, depending on the size of the item. According to Revmodo, pushing items inside triggers refrigeration for that chamber only. The device uses a motor in its back to act like a piston to send vibrations that resonate through the inner chamber to create cold air.

“How many times have you put leftovers in the fridge and forgotten about them, only to come back a week later and find them spoiled?” said de la Roche. “Impress is a refrigeration wall that holds your food and drinks for you, out in the open and not behind closed doors so you will always remember the lunch you prepared for work or find that midnight snack with ease.”

The New Zealand Herald reports the design – dubbed Impress – has earned de la Roche a trip to Italy as one of 10 finalists in a worldwide competition run by Electrolux. Entries will be judged on intuitive design, innovation, aesthetic qualities and consumer insight. First prize is a six-month paid internship at Electrolux global design center and a cash prize of 5000 Euros (about NZ$7800).


Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

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