Technical improvement of residential refrigerator in Brazil: an energy efficiency analysis

2 de junho de 2003

Paper titled “Technical improvement of residential refrigerator in Brazil: energy efficiency analysis”.


Edson A. Vendrusculo, Guilherme de C. Queiroz, Gilberto De M. Jannuzzi, Nathan Mendes, Thomaz Borges, José A. Pomilio

Paper accepted for presentation at the 3rd International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting (EEDAL’03) 1-3 October 2003 Turin – Italy


Recent technological results in the field of refrigeration systems, embedded electronics, and new materials in general have been incorporated in modern household goods. The use of these technological improvements increases consumer’s comfort and create opportunities for manufacturers in the retail market. Nevertheless, the it is possible to speed up technological innovation and contribute to reduce electricity consumption and environmental impacts associated with electricity production. In this context, energy efficiency labels and standards for household appliances have been more widely adopted.

In Brazil until recently the energy consumption labels were used on a voluntary basis. However, the Brazilian government has introduced compulsory legislation to introduce minimum efficiency standards, which should be mandatory in the next years.

The main objective of this study is to provide technical background to support the establishment of energy efficiency standards for refrigerators. The technical improvements suggested in the present study were evaluated in an experimental setup available in a specialized refrigeration laboratory.

Also the study considers the additional manufacturer costs for producing more efficient refrigerators, the cost for the end-user and the reduced environmental impacts due to the lower demand by power plants based on burning natural gas. The present analysis is based on Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) methodology that consists of applying statistical and economic engineering approaches to analyze environmental and economic overall impacts.

Initially tests were performed to get basic information about a refrigerator with 330-liter of adjusted volume , a popular model found in the Brazilian market. Technical variables related to the refrigeration system were monitored and recorded. As a result, the dataset obtained could be confronted with results obtained from the simulation of the refrigerator’s mathematical model.

Subsequently, the energy performance of the refrigeration system was analyzed in the laboratory according to some other innovations, namely the use of a more energy efficient compressor, a better suction line insulation and partially moving the condenser away of the refrigerator rear.