Canadian beer responsible for global warming
December 1, 2007 7:29 PM   Subscribe

No wonder why Canada won't meet their Kyoto targets A University of Alberta researcher is calling on Canadian beer drinkers to go green and toss their energy-guzzling beer fridges, found in one of three households across the country.
posted by Coop (53 comments total)
 
beer fridges, found in one of three households across the country.

I love you so very fucking much indeed Canada.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:39 PM on December 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


When they pry it from my cold, drunk hands.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 7:44 PM on December 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


If it is Canada why don't they just set it out in the snow?
Oh yeah the sled dogs might pee on it.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:47 PM on December 1, 2007


Let's see. Mining and processing tar sands? Not a problem? Minifridges?

Pardon me, Mr. GETAFUCKINGCLUE, but I suspect we could triple the number of beer fridges in Canada and not really change the CO2 output of the nation that much, when you factor in the ecological nightmare that is tar sand oil extraction.

HTH, HAND.
posted by eriko at 7:54 PM on December 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sure, take the beer fridge...but keep your paws off my wine cooling unit...!
posted by HuronBob at 7:55 PM on December 1, 2007


When I was a kid, the lament was, "Everything I want to do is either illegal, immoral, or fattening."

These days that list has to be extended: "...illegal, immoral, fattening, racist, sexist, carcinogenic, or causes global warming."
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:57 PM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Australia is apparently already meeting its targets, even though we're not part of Kyoto. But now that Kevin Rudd is PM, that's gonna change in the next few months. So for us Aussies, it's win/win!
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:03 PM on December 1, 2007


I am not giving up my dream of an office with a mini-fridge, couch, and wardrobe.
posted by dreamsign at 8:04 PM on December 1, 2007


"...illegal, immoral, fattening, racist, sexist, carcinogenic, or causes global warming."

You forgot homophobic, ethnocentric, ableist and speciesist
posted by Crotalus at 8:05 PM on December 1, 2007


Even if everyone in Canada disconnected their beer fridges, they'd take the $150 a year they saved in power and spend it on something else that demands power. Maybe they'd spend it on something made in China, where the energy that goes into making products is much dirtier than in Canada.

Energy efficiency makes sense, but it's not a solution to global warming on its own. We need to find a way to decarbonize our electricity production. Efficiency is going to be important when it comes to transportation and home heating, but we also need to move to nuclear, or clean fossil fuels with carbon sequestration, if we really want to reduce emissions. And we have to do it in developing countries, too, so we don't just move our carbon emissions offshore.
posted by Dasein at 8:06 PM on December 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Blaming minifridges for global warming? Looks like the Fox News-style stupid has overtaken our nouveau riche neighbors up north.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:08 PM on December 1, 2007


We'll make a proper anarchist out you yet, Steven me lad.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:08 PM on December 1, 2007


Out of you, damn this no three minute edit window having community weblog!
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:09 PM on December 1, 2007


This is like trying to put together a down payment on a mortgage by looking for change that's dropped between the cushions of a sofa.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:12 PM on December 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is it the beer fridge or the methane in the beer farts that is the problem?
posted by 45moore45 at 8:26 PM on December 1, 2007


beer fridges, found in one of three households across the country

Selling ice to eskimoes.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:33 PM on December 1, 2007


When I was a kid, the lament was, "Everything I want to do is either illegal, immoral, or fattening."

These days that list has to be extended: "...illegal, immoral, fattening, racist, sexist, carcinogenic, or causes global warming."


What is it you want to do that's racist now?
posted by delmoi at 8:46 PM on December 1, 2007 [4 favorites]


We have one at work.

It will not be removed.
posted by blacklite at 8:55 PM on December 1, 2007


delmoi, haven't you heard, beer fridges are racist because global warming disproportionately affects the third world. Hear that, Beer Nazis?
posted by Dasein at 9:06 PM on December 1, 2007


Extreme temperatures (cold and hot, mean furnaces and AC units except for short breaks in the spring and fall. Long distances between cities, suburban sprawl demanding cars over urban public transit... massive resource extraction for export as a large part of the economy and on and on. Canada will always have a more difficult time reducing emissions than virtually all other countries of similar population.
posted by crowman at 9:10 PM on December 1, 2007


Blaming minifridges for global warming? Looks like the Fox News-style stupid has overtaken our nouveau riche neighbors up north.

Not minifridges: this is when you upgrade to a new fridge in the kitchen, then you take your old fridge and put it in the basement as a beer fridge. A fridge that's 20 years old can account for more than 1/3 of your household's total electricity use.

Howard Hampton (NDP) proposed low-interest loans from the gov't to Ontarians replace beer fridges with something more energy-efficient as part of an energy-use reduction plan. I mean, the idea made me laugh, but I liked it; it's everyday practical.
posted by Melinika at 9:12 PM on December 1, 2007


I have a radical proposal for our North American friends that will be good for the environment and beer lovers - simply brew beer that doesn't taste like piss when served at a decent temperature.
posted by Abiezer at 9:21 PM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have a radical proposal for our North American friends that will be good for the environment and beer lovers - simply brew beer that doesn't taste like piss when served at a decent temperature.

Let me get this straight:

You just said that Canadian beer sucks, that there's no difference between Canadian and American beer, and in general lumped Canadians in with Americans?

I'm trying so hard right now to hate you to death.
posted by Alex404 at 9:29 PM on December 1, 2007


I am proud to say my beer fridge is sitting in the basement and it is unplugged.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:31 PM on December 1, 2007


There was a 'story' on the TV news here recently about the decommissioning of a visual weather beacon on top of a city building. Rising maintenance costs, the difficulty of obtaining the now-obsolete lamps, and the fact that nobody even remembered it existed was the reason, though the story was spun from the POV of saving several hundred tonnes of CO2 output per year.

I think of that, every time I look out my window at 1am and see half the floors in every city building lit up, or drive past a billboard illuminated with 1KW+ worth of floodlighting. And I especially thought of it the other day as I walked past, in 32°C temp and 80% humidity, the local pub with its whole 40 metre frontage open and trying to air-condition the entire world down to 26°C.
posted by Pinback at 9:35 PM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


My mom got rid of our beer/soda fridge when we moved to Texas. She said that if we couldn't fit all our food and drinks into a single fridge, then we're eating and drinking too much.

We get into fights all the time, but I'll be damned if that woman isn't right about this one.
posted by Avenger at 9:54 PM on December 1, 2007


I have to admit that was a shameless slur based on zero real knowledge of your ales, Alex404, but seriously, warm beer! Dark and bitter and after my own heart for it thus resembles it.
posted by Abiezer at 10:04 PM on December 1, 2007


Get rid of the beer fridge? This is an attack on Canadian culture itself. It's also right up there with our latest Provincial ad campaign to get us to reduce our energy consumption by unplugging our cell phone chargers. Because that - not the fact that half of the floors of the skyscrapers leave all their lights on all the time - is responsible for high energy rates.

Anyways, of course you need a beer fridge. You can haul a full size fridge up to the fishing lodge, for heaven's sake.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:05 PM on December 1, 2007


CAN'T CAN'T CAN'T haul damnit.

Hi, my name is Salmonberry and I'm new to the concept of a keyboard.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:06 PM on December 1, 2007


Is this something one would need need a functioning liver to understand?

*Wanders upstairs to Melon Girl's tasting party*
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:37 PM on December 1, 2007


They have fridges just for beer?
posted by pracowity at 10:37 PM on December 1, 2007


Ooopsers.

Above link probably NSFW, if Matt or Jes could fix that.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:39 PM on December 1, 2007


"I think of that, every time I look out my window at 1am and seen half the floors in every city building lit up"

Perhaps, in winter, that's the background heat which prevents the building from freezing up? I've seen that done with empty office buildings in Colorado - every other floor. (And don't forget to leave the faucets dripping...)
posted by speug at 10:56 PM on December 1, 2007


You can keep your beer fridge if you're in Quebec though, because we have hydro power here.
posted by clevershark at 11:49 PM on December 1, 2007


The article is a whole three paragraphs long and still people manage to veer off on a tangent about 'mini-fridges'. Oh well. I wonder how much greenhouse gas is created when manufacturing a new efficient fridge. Could be that using an old one is actually better than junking it.
posted by onya at 12:18 AM on December 2, 2007


Manitoba too! Hydro! Instead of polluting the air, we just destroy traditional native hunting grounds, woo!

Seriously though, without my beer fridge... I'd have to walk ALL the way to the kitchen. Hasn't someone presented this argument to this gentlemen?
posted by utsutsu at 12:21 AM on December 2, 2007


One piece of logic that seems to escape a lot of people in these arguments is that if you live somewhere that necessitates heating your home, you can have any number of appliances running without actually 'wasting' any energy at all. Fridges (and pretty much all other appliances) are just machines for turning electricity into heat - the cooling of the beer is just a side-effect. The energy 'wasted' in running the extra fridge is offset by the energy saved because your room thermostat cuts in a little sooner.

Of course, this doesn't apply when the weather's warm enough to switch off your heating, and there are issues around whether electrical heating methods are ecologically wise, but still, it's a factor people often don't take into account.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:15 AM on December 2, 2007


It also takes energy to move heat around... viewed as a heating device, your refrigerator is unlikely to be as efficient as your main heating system.

To put it another way - having the refrigerator indoors when you are heating your house just means your refrigerator has to do extra work to keep itself cool. If it's cold enough to heat the house, then your beer fridge should be outside, where it will not have to work so hard.
posted by TravellingDen at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2007


Do fridges work well in cold environments? If it's cold outside, beer goes on the porch (as long as it's not below freezing, because beersicles make the Baby Jacques Cartier cry.)
posted by maudlin at 8:08 AM on December 2, 2007


All of Canada used to be a beer fridge until the global warming came around. This is one of those cart before the horse chicken and egg tomato, tomato things.
posted by Koko at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2007


I can't believe people would need a separate fridge just for beer.
posted by wfc123 at 8:38 AM on December 2, 2007


Why do Canadians need refrigerators at all? Don't they all live in igloos up there?
posted by fandango_matt at 8:50 AM on December 2, 2007


Here's an idea I had while looking at a 7-11 full of fridges in -50 winter: Computer-controlled vents connecting the fridges to the outdoors. The vents would stay closed in summer and the refrigeration units would run. In winter, the vents would open intermittently to let in cold air.

It seems so simple, I don't understand why we aren't doing this. I figure it would pay for itself pretty quickly for those Canadian grocery stores with an aisle full of open freezers.

Aha, I just found a discussion of the same idea on halfbakery.
posted by teg at 8:52 AM on December 2, 2007


Fridges (and pretty much all other appliances) are just machines for turning electricity into heat

uh, i don't think so. electric fridges are heat pumps, they move heat. they don't create heat to remove heat.

..and while the fridge is being vilified here, it should be noted that the use of a compressor and refrigerant system is actually the way forward for heating and cooling your house. go and read about geo-thermal heat pumps.

got a pool? go get a heat pump. you'll use a third of the energy to move the heat (with a system very similar to an air conditioner) rather than 'creating' the heat by burning oil or gas.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:55 AM on December 2, 2007


uh, i don't think so. electric fridges are heat pumps, they move heat. they don't create heat to remove heat.

Erm, no. Yes, they move heat from one place to another. But in order to accomplish that, they use energy themselves, which is dissipated as heat.

Basically, if you put the 'hot side' of a refrigeration system in a sealed box, and the 'cold side' in another, and then let the compressor run, you'd find that the hot side gets hotter faster than the cold side gets cooler.

A perfect, ideal heat pump would not do this; it would move the heat from one side to the other without any work at all, but this is not possible in the real world.

More practically: I wonder how much energy would be saved if people moved their beer fridges from their basements (which are a constant, relatively warm temperature) to their garages, or somewhere colder? At some point you'd have to become concerned about things in it freezing, but with beer you can get to a few degrees below zero (C, obviously) before that becomes a problem. In an attached garage, it has to be mighty cold outside to get down there. That seems like a more ideal place for refrigeration than the basement.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:56 AM on December 2, 2007


Why should any Canadian give a f. about climate change? They are probably hoping for a few degress more...
posted by yoyo_nyc at 11:16 AM on December 2, 2007


Two words: pine beetle. Also: permafrost.
posted by Dasein at 1:09 PM on December 2, 2007


teg - your idea has merit, see this company which is doing just that: http://www.freeaire.com/Whatisit.html

The challenges come with the fact that often coolers have precise humidity as well as temperature control that then need to maintain.

Most of the rest of this discussion is just about how almost all our buildings and appliances need better insulation with fewer thermal breaks and bridges. Leaving lights on and faucets dripping to keep a building from freezing?! There is a better way...

This recommendation may not be the biggest thing that could be done, but unplugging that extra 25 year old fridge isn't that hard either. I think it is the simplicity that gives it some merit.
posted by meinvt at 2:10 PM on December 2, 2007


I am pretty amused at the number of people who seem to assume that a beer fridge is a minifridge. A minifridge would hardly hold any beer at all! For many people around here, the beer fridge is in the garage or basement and is a full sized fridge; often -- as mentioned above -- an old one. OTOH, one of my neighbours has a stainless steel one in his garage, which definitely seems like overkill.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:21 PM on December 2, 2007


Canadian beer drinkers are not as big a threat as British smokers!
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:34 PM on December 2, 2007


So where is the Metafilter:
Arrogant Americans
Sanctimonious Canadians comment?
Oh. Here it is.
posted by notreally at 2:47 PM on December 2, 2007


But doesn't the fact that one can store more cold tasty beverages without having to make multiple trips to the store (wasting gasoline) offset the costs of the extra fridge?

Tongue-in-cheek - I'm part of the problem. I have a second fridge. Not for beer, but definately for beverages. However, it is only 6 years old and Energy-star compliant.

As others have suggested, I do use the garage as my winter fridge as well - right now I have a frozen turkey out there, waiting for a space in the freezer ;-)
(Currently -19 C, -26 with windchill)

The only problem with my 1200 sq foot fridge is, carbonated/fizzy beverages don't like being repeatedly frozen and thawed and frozen and will occasionally explode, leaving nasty stains on the ceiling.

(But nothing tastes as good as a nearly frozen "Coke-red-filter" - mmmmm, brain freeze...)
posted by jkaczor at 2:57 PM on December 2, 2007


Kadin, you're right but my point is more that to put a fridge in the same bracket as an iron, or curling tongs doesn't really do the appliance (or the science) justice.
posted by Frasermoo at 3:35 PM on December 2, 2007


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