altered chest freezer, microcontrollers, pvc, blower fans
This refrigerator will be installed in a window frame, just like an air conditioner. Two microcontrollers measure the temperature inside the refrigerator and periodically activate two blower fans. The blowers cycle the air from outdoors into the refrigerator.
The downside is that this refrigerator will only work when the outside temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 C) or below. The upside is that for roughly half of the year it will function as an extremely energy efficient refrigerator. How efficient? It runs on less energy then a light bulb (even a CFL bulb). Most of the time it runs on 5 watts. For the brief periods when the fans are running it uses 17 watts.
For comparison the current (2007) Energy Star standards for a mini-fridge requires it to operate at under 297 kWh/Year. If it were possible to use my Window-Unit Refrigerator all year it would operate at roughly 46 kWh/Year. And, since it is made from a broken chest freezer, it is significantly larger than a mini-fridge.