household refrigerator, vaccum insulation panel, thermal insulation
The Vacuum Insulation Panels, commonly called VIPs, are a good alternative for energy savings since their thermal conductivities are about five times smaller than those of the currently used polyurethane foams. However, their widespread use is limited by their cost and by the extra handling, application and storage cares. The aim of this work is to study the thermal performance of a specific refrigerator model based on experiments carried out with 16 samples, assembled with different amounts of VIPs, placed in different positions around the refrigerator envelope. Cyclic energy consumption tests were carried out showing, as expected, that the energy consumption decreases with the VIP coverage area, but not in a linear fashion. It was found that samples with equal VIP coverage area might show different energy consumption, depending on the panel positions. It was also found that the addition of vacuum panels in the doors and in the rear wall of the refrigerator dropped the energy consumption by approximately 6% and 11%, respectively. In general, a 60% VIP coverage area dropped the energy consumption by 21%.