natureCool fridge

natureCool fridge

Berlin, Germany
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Imagine it’s -20°C outside. Imagine your fridge pump kicking in with a summing noise. Remember, it’s cold enough to chisel ice sculptures outside. Now imagine turning off that energy hungry machine and using the natural air to cool your goods, to not only save money, but the world. (No pressure).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Global warming, overuse of finite resources, pollution, endless waste, production of goods under inacceptable conditions – business as usual. This product is thinking out of the box and solving the problem of perishable goods with the help of mother nature instead of big oil and co. Saving energy and resources, also with regional and environmentally friendly materials, while ensuring proper work standards are the challenges to be tackled.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

To save energy & resources in cold winter months, turn off your conventional refrigerator and use the cooling powers of Mother Nature. Since some foods shouldn’t freeze the natureCool fridge protect theses perishables while keeping them fresh. To do so, this zero energy refrigerator is located outside, e.g. on a balcony. (Remember, the aim is to save the world). To not waste limited space under the sky, the eco fridge is disguised as something almost everyone has – garden furniture. The idea is to incorporate the fridge into something else, to save space. An average bench now doubles as a zero energy fridge. In the winter you can store food inside, during the summer you can use your bench as…well a bench.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Current CO2 emissions in Germany are at 60 tons per person & year. In the US CO2 emissions are even at 130t. If we are not to exceed a 2°C increase, we need to reduce greenhouse gases as of immediately. To get a feel for these numbers – a reduction to 4-8 tons (current population) is necessary. Fossil fuel energy is a major source of pollution. It damages ecosystems and human health during extraction, consumes more energy during transportation, and ends in waste & emissions, utilizing only ca. 40% of primary energy for electricity. In a household the refrigerator is a top energy consumer. When temperatures drop below zero, it seems absurd to need an artificial source of cold. This is where the natureCool fridge comes in handy.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are few products that differ from the conventional refrigerator. When utilizing cold temps, there is a portable cool box, made from cardboard. This is a low-end solution e.g. for camping and not for long-term use. When looking at convent. refrigerators there is a one, which uses solar power. It requires a solar panel and battery, along with space to install the system. This may be more appealing to homeowners/people with extra space. Confronted with limited space, this is not an option. Also, the materials used are not necessarily renewable and possibly made from fossil fuels.
About You
About You
First Name

Ting

Last Name

Lee

About Your Project
Organization Name
Organization Country

, BE, Berlin

Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

I have lived in Germany for most of my life. But after moving to Berlin and witnessing the incredibly cold winter here, I noticed one day that the refrigerator was summing. Suddenly it struck me how absurd this was. I was practically living “in a refrigerator” with -20°C outside, yet I was wasting energy and resources creating artificial cold. I had to do something about this.
Though being a business major I wanted to create more than shareholder value - stakeholder value - since social and environmental aspects are in my opinion extremely important and should be incorporated in every business. The idea emerged to not only create a product, but a company based on these values.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Greenhouse Gases, Waste, Supply Chain Micro-entrepreneurs.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

In general anyone who also sees this oxymoron and wishes to do something about our wasteful habits (and lives in a temperate region with cold winters).

More specifically the product targets LOHAS consumers (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability), who are a new generation of ecological and social conscious consumers, willing to invest in our future.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

A minimum viable product will likely be available by the end of November, a good time for testing under natural conditions. By mid 2014 we will have a ready for market product.
During research and development our aim is to use products with the least effect on our environment, while considering its entire life cycle. We are focused on for example using regenerative materials, preferably of local origin and from secondary sources (recycling).
The production itself is planned to be done by hand in Germany, saving shipping costs and pollution as well as ensuring good working conditions and offering an unique handcrafted product, built to last, for our customers.
Once in use, the natureCool fridge utilizes natural resources, the cold air, to cool your foods. This saves energy, resources and money.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

There are several applications with this method. The functionality can be incorporated in other products of different sizes as well as for portable products. New markets are seen e.g. in countries with temperate climate, long and cold winters, possibly environmental consciousness within the society, and/or the necessity to go off or not being part of the grid.
For these new markets, regional partners can be included to reduce transportation and to support locally produced products.
For the next generation, the aim is to use the power of the sun to cool during warm periods. Rendering the conventional refrigerator completely redundant.
The award would be used for R&D, marketing & PR to raise awareness and seek strategic partners.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

Since the natureCool fridge is to be built as a quality hand-made product, mass production is not an option. This allows organic growth. Also a B2C approach allows the company sustainable pricing, since large retail margins are not included, possibly chipping away at company profits.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I am working on a Masters Degree in Sustainability & Quality Mngt, and am part of an entrepreneurship program aimed at supporting ideas with know-how. I have worked for a start-up, where I was able to contribute ideas, optimize existing and implement new processes of importance to the strategic development. After 4 years of work experience and 2 degrees later I am certain entrepreneurship is the best way to utilize my skills and acquire new ones.

randomness