Source: Clean Technica | Tina Casey

Getting a handle on energy-gobbling household appliances is a key part of the US Energy Department’s carbon management toolkit. In the latest development, a new energy-efficient refrigerator — make that hyper-super-duper-efficient — is now in the works, thanks to a partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and global appliance innovator Whirlpool Corporation.

CleanTechnica wouldn’t cover a new refrigerator unless it was a very special new refrigerator (or unless it was full of beer), and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint.

It’s going to be co-designed by the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory(ORNL) in Tennessee, so all of us taxpayers can go give ourselves a pat on the back.

The award-winning lab has some serious brainpower working away within its walls, to the tune of thousands of engineers and scientists on staff, visiting, or using the facility, all helped along with an annual budget of $1.4 billion.

ORNL’s roots go back to the 1943 Manhattan Project and, more lately, it’s been known for clean energy and sustainability R&D including next-generation energy storage, solar cells based on spinach, and electric vehicle batteries.

Our expectations are high and so are ORNL’s. According to the lab’s press materials, the goal is to design an energy-efficient refrigerator that uses less than 1 kilowatt-hour daily.

This is definitely not your father’s refrigerator, because depending on how old your father is, in the 1970s, his refrigerator would have used something in the range of 4 to 5 kilowatt-hours daily.

Today’s models range around 1.5 kilowatt-hours, so getting that down below 1 kilowatt-hour is a huge improvement. Here’s how the numbers stack up, according to ORNL’s director of Building Technologies Research & Integration Center:

If every refrigerator in the U.S. were replaced with the advanced refrigerator design, the projected primary energy savings would be 0.56 quads per year—the equivalent of 100 million barrels of oil.