Smart refrigerator usage significantly lowers energy consumption

Delft, 10 May 2019 – consumers can save a lot of energy costs if they focus on lowering the power usage of their fridge. According to research by Homie Pay-Per-Use, the company that strives to make the white goods sector more sustainable.

Homie provides washing machines with a Pay-Per-Use model. Customers do not have to buy their machine but only pay for each wash, whilst they pay less for a wash at a low temperature than for a wash programme at a high temperature setting. It helps Homie customers lower their water and energy usage by twenty to twenty five percent, because the Pay-per-Use model makes them more aware of their washing behaviour and stimulates them to run less wash cycles, at lower temperatures. Stimulating sustainable consumption is one of Homie’s main goals.

In cooperation with CoJo Vastgoed and Stichting Herontwikkeling tot Studentenhuisvestiging (SHS) Delft, Homie has installed twenty-five energy-efficient fridges in an student flat in Delft. SHS Delft is a foundation that is managed full-time by students from TU Delft and focuses on solving two issues: real estate vacancies and the high demand for affordable student rooms. Sustainability is an important aspect for SHS and Homie provides them with a sustainable solution for white goods.

Job de Vogel, Secretary SHS Delft: "SHS Delft believes it is important that innovative concepts such as Homie's refrigerators can be piloted in real-life. The pilot in Abtswoude Bloeit can be used in the future to make other projects more sustainable.".

The white goods appliances are used by TU Delft students living in the flat. As it is hard to integrate a pay-per-use model for refrigerators, Homie currently charges a fixed monthly rental fee instead. However, such a fixed fee does not stimulate sustainable use.

Refrigerators are in fifth place among the major energy users (or: -eaters) in an average Dutch household, with around five percent of total energy consumption. With this in mind, Homie started a research project to see if the energy consumption of these appliances can be reduced. For three months Homie tracked the power consumption of the refrigerators using smart meters.

Homie challenged the students living in the flat to lower their energy usage as much as possible. To help them, Homie provided a weekly energy overview and a monthly evaluation survey was carried out. To motivate the students, Homie offered a prize every month to the flat with the lowest consumption (see the photos and comments below).

In general, most participants said they had paid particular attention to keeping the refrigerator door closed and that they kept their fridges well-stocked to keep the temperature inside stable. Furthermore, first month’s winner Stijn indicated that they had used the “Holiday-mode” on the fridge and that they had kept the heat of the sun away from the fridge by closing their curtains. According to the winner of the final month, Thomas, raising the refrigerator temperature with just one degree was also very effective in reducing energy consumption. An additional advantage: his yoghurt did not longer freeze on the lower fridge shelf.

The most important finding from this project is that the energy consumption of refrigerators can indeed be reduced by its users. Homie has observed large differences between the participants, but also between different days. For example, the highest electricity consumption measured turned out to be 57% higher than the energy consumption in the most energy-efficient house. Setting up a business model that encourages more energy-efficient use of refrigerators is therefore certainly interesting. However, various factors such as family size must be taken into account.

Based on the results of this study, Homie Pay-Per-Use is looking into adding refrigerators to its future product line. Consumers could then be charged a flexible rental price based on their energy consumption. ”


Colin, CEO of Homie, presents the prize for the first month.
Winner first month: “Nice to hear our house won the first month of the refrigerator test! We were on a skiing holiday with the house for a week and so we used the holiday mode on the fridge to save some energy. We also ensured that the fridge was well-stocked, for example with beer, because that helps to keep the temperature constant. Next month we will try to further save energy by keeping the curtain next to the fridge closed so that the sun does not heat the fridge unnecessarily.".

Colin, CEO of Homie, presents the prize for the second month.
Koen Ruijgrok, winner second month: “We didn't actually do that much different, we mainly tried to use one fridge less than the other one.”.

Colin, CEO of Homie, presents the prize for the third month.
Thomas van Muiden, winner of the third month: “Our trick was to set the refrigerator one degree warmer than the regular Eco-mode setting. This reduced our energy consumption but also made sure that my yoghurt no longer froze to the bottom drawer of the fridge!”

About Homie Pay-Per-Use:

Homie is founded in 2016 by Nancy Bocken, Hidde-Jan Lemstra and Colin Bom. It is a spin-off company from Delft University of Technology and is the only company in the world to offer "Pay-Per Use" washing power. Homie does so by taking care of everything around installation and maintenance of washing machines. This removes the need to purchase appliances, and Homie’s customers always have access to high-quality, energy-efficient appliances. In addition to the washing machines and refrigerators, Homie will expand the range with white goods such as dryers and dishwashers.

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Contact for the press:
Homie: Colin Bom (CEO) - - Office +31 15 760 1615