When most of us think of “green,” we think about energy savings. While that’s true, “going green” means more than just saving money by reducing your utility bills. It also means not being wasteful—whether it’s preserving food, using recycled materials or saving on energy costs. Some of the leading manufacturers are a little “greener” than others. When you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, there are many different features to take into account, but first and foremost is energy.

Calculating how energy-efficient an appliance is can be a little confusing. Fortunately, the government has actually made it a little easier for us to choose the most energy-efficient appliances by developing the Energy Star® qualification. When you see the Energy Star® symbol, it means that the product is at least 20 percent more energy-efficient that the minimum federal standard and that it helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

So just how green is that fridge? We’ve listed some of the “green” features of six of the top models on the market to help you make your comparisons.

Sub-Zero BI36U RefrigeratorSub-Zero BI-36U Over-and-Under Refrigerator

  • Precise temperature control and magnetic door seals keep temperatures at a constant level
  • Energy Star® qualified
  • Approximate annual energy use of 458 kilowatts ($49 a year based on 10.65 cents per kilowatt hour), which is less than a 100-watt light bulb
  • Food preservation system minimizes food waste
  • Manufactured and shipped in the U.S., reducing the amount of money and energy needed to ship the product
  • Advanced “green” manufacturing process produces no wastewater; all refrigerant is recovered; and recycled plastics are used extensively in the product




Viking Refrigerator VIBBViking VIBB 36” Quiet Cool™ Bottom-Mount Refrigerator/Freezer

  • Plasmacluster™ ion air purifier cleans the air, reduces odors and improves food preservation using ions (no filter is needed)
  • Adjustable Cold Zone™ drawer stores food in temperatures 3 to 5 degrees colder than the rest of the fridge
  • Electronic temperature controls keep internal temperature to within 1 degree
  • Door alarm sounds when either the fridge or freezer door is open longer than 3 minutes and the internal temperature rises
  • One compressor (not two) chills food quickly, then lowers its motor speed to maintain a regular internal temperature, which saves energy



Miele RefrigeratorMiele KF1911 Vi 36” Refrigerator/Freezer

  • MasterCool™ control system tells you which temperature is best for different types of foods (meat, dairy, vegetables, etc.), which keeps foods fresher longer
  • SuperCool setting controls the thermostat whenever you add a large amount of food to the fridge—it cools down the food quickly, then returns to the normal operating temperature range
  • SmartFresh™ drawers enable you to choose individual temperature and humidity settings for each compartment, which helps keep food fresher
  • Energy consumption is approximately 443 kilowatts per year ($47 a year based on 10.65 cents per kilowatt hour)
  • Energy Star® qualified




Thermador Refrigerator FreedomThermador Freedom® Collection Model T361B70NSP 36” Built-In Two-Door Bottom-Freezer

  • Electronic sensors help keep temperatures consistent—food stays fresh no matter where it’s stored
  • Energy Star® qualified
  • Three modes help save energy: economy mode for everyday use; vacation mode saves energy when you’re away for long periods of time; and Sabbath mode for special religious holidays






GE Profile RefrigeratorGE Profile™ PDCS1NCZLSS Counter-Depth 20.9 Cubic Foot Full-Door Refrigerator

  • ClimateKeeper™ features electronic controls, multiple sensors and a multi-flow air system that ensures even cooling
  • Temperature management features include TurbCool™ setting, four electronic sensors and a multi-air system
  • Fresh food cabinet drawers with adjustable humidity and temperature settings to keep food fresher
  • Energy Star® qualified





Frigidaire RefrigeratorFrigidaire FPHF2399MF 22.6 Cubic Foot French Door Counter-Depth Refrigerator

  • Alarm sounds if door is left open or internal temperature rises
  • Energy Star® qualified
  • PureAir Ultra® filters keep air and water fresher and cleaner
  • Glide Crisper Drawers help to keep fruit and vegetables fresher


Of course, we know that there’s much more to choosing the right refrigerator than its “green” features. But in this day and age, when the economy and the environment are so much on our minds, it should be at least one of the important considerations in your purchasing decision. While any of these models could be considered light years beyond the refrigerators we all grew up with, some stand out in their claims for efficiency—particularly Sub-Zero and Miele.

Anthony Rocco

About The Author

Founder and Editor of Appliance Buyer's Guide. With over 10 years experience selling appliances and designing kitchens, and having grown up in the business, I have a unique perspective on todays offerings in the Appliance world. Currently Managing Director at The Kitchenworks in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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