- Technology (http://inhabitat.com/groundfridge-lets-you-store-perishables-without-traditional-refrigeration/)
The Groundfridge created by Floris Schoonderbeek (the founder of Weltevree) is an innovative take on a traditional root cellar. The technology uses the insulating effect of soil and the cooling effect of groundwater. The temperature in the fridge remains stable year-round between 10 and 12° C (50 to 54° F). This is the ideal temperature for storing fruits, vegetables, wine and cheese. The unit has a storage capacity of 3,000 litres, which can hold the contents of 20 (European) refrigerators, that store 500 kg of food. This is equivalent to the harvest of a 250 m2 vegetable garden, which is enough to prepare 350 meals to feed a family of 5.
- Sustainability Problem
With excess consumption and waste plaguing the food industry, this technology is part of a concept meant to encourage the modern homeowner to grow and store their own produce for a modern self-sufficient existence. It meets the requirements of people with their own vegetable garden, who choose to live in a modern and self-sustaining way.
Furthermore, the unit is electricity-free – another element of the Groundfridge which helps consumers reduce their impact on the environment. On average, 20 A grade EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) Refrigerators combined, use 6,620 kWh annually. The Groundfridge performs the same feat completely without any electricity.
- Urban farmers
- Community garden owners
- Restaurant Industry
- Implementation Process
This product has a relatively exclusive reach due to its high cost (approximately $10, 000). It is currently being released to early-adopters in Belgium and the Netherlands and plan to go abroad by the end of 2016. I feel that the restaurant industry with larger budgets (especially the farm-to-table concept) may also be a viable avenue for the creators to explore, combining their sustainable approach to food storage with the idea of local sourcing and environmentally-conscious food consumption.
However the cost-savings associated with reduced electricity-use may eventually be able to offset the high upfront cost of the unit. The creators could also look into certain financing options which take into account the payback time.
As far as the technology is concerned, the feasibility of operations should also be explored in other climates. This, as well as high costs are some of the barriers to implementation.
Off Grid World, Electricity-free Groundfridge Lets You Store Produce Without Traditional Refrigeration: https://www.offgridworld.com/electricity-free-groundfridge-lets-you-store-produce-without-traditional-refrigeration/
Weltevree, Groundfridge: http://www.weltevree.nl/US/collectie/groundfridge
Treehugger, Get back to your roots with the Groundfridge prefab root cellar: http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/get-back-your-roots-groundfridge-prefab-root-cellar.html