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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 ideas for storing, keeping food cool and saving energy

Kristin Arrigo

How many trips to the fridge can you take in one day? Maybe not so much if your refrigerator was outdoors. Keeping extra refrigerator storage outdoors creates added space to keep foods like vegetables. It makes perfect sense for the way people buy in bulk these days. Then, as an added bonus, you don’t need to pay for the electricity to run it. They are called freezer-chest root cellars, and they go right in the ground.

Before you start digging, you’ll need to have an old freezer chest. The freezer chest gets buried into the ground up to its lid. The trick is to create a slope around the chest to allow for water runoff. Since fall is a somewhat unpredictable season weatherwise, a deep freeze could happen any night, so you’ll want to start digging the hole for your outdoor refrigerator right away.

Perhaps this is not for you? You are thinking: Surely there has to be another economical eco-friendly option for extra refrigerator space. There is; it’s the Bio Robot Refrigerator. The Bio Robot Refrigerator works by absorbing heat energy and radiating it into different wavelengths through luminescence gel. So, instead of reaching a hand into the ground, you can reach into some funky, but not sticky, gel. Although it does use energy, the Bio Robot doesn’t use energy in the cooling process.

There are no mechanical parts, so it runs silently. You can try and compete with the Bio Robot at home by filling your regular refrigerator and freezer to the max, to cut down on cooling cost. By utilizing all that space, the refrigerator keeps the cold in better. This is cheaper to run than when the refrigerator is empty.

You can even fill bottles with water to take up more space. Even so, the cooling costs of a regular refrigerator can’t compete with spending no money for cooling with the Bio Robot.

The Bio Robot looks kind of like a piece of futuristic wall art. As you push food and drinks into it, you can watch it change its shape. The gel creates a pod around the food or drink item, and there is a great amount of tension that allows for the pod to keep things fresh and odor free.

The Gorgonzola cheese can be stuffed in right next to the coconut water, and it won’t affect the taste. The Bio Robot detects what the item needs for cooling; meat doesn’t even need to be frozen. Bio Robots are relatively small, but even a small one can store a lot, thanks to the gel that you just push stuff into.

That’s right, you don’t have to worry about shelves or balance with the Bio Robot, you can push a bottle of Tabasco sauce in upside down if you want. This makes Bio Robot perfect for living rooms, next to the television. Just think, no getting up to go to the kitchen when you want a drink or a snack during “Dancing With The Stars.”

But maybe it’s not so bad sticking with the refrigerator you have. Those trips to the refrigerator count as a workout. Why would you want people visiting you to look at the contents of your refrigerator anyway? Then again, you will really look like a genius saving all that money and being eco-friendly. If that’s not enough, you can always place a Bio Robot Refrigerator anywhere – even on the ceiling.

Kristin Arrigo is an environmental writer and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ArrigoKristin. Only Better runs the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.