One of the benefits of replacing an older refrigerator with a new one is knowing that you will be saving energy using the new model.
Jame Duley at the Columbus Dispatch writes:
The energy savings from a more efficient compressor and insulation should pay back the cost of a new model over its lifetime. My refrigerator is about 16 years old. We had a power outage, and my food warmed within eight hours and had to be trashed. My neighbor has a new model, and the insulation kept food in his refrigerator safely below 40 degrees for the same time period.
When selecting a new refrigerator, the size is the most important factor affecting its electricity usage. Select as small a model as will meet your requirements. You can base the size requirements on your existing refrigerator size and how full it typically is, not on the few holiday occasions when you’re making dinner for your extended family.
Don’t buy one that will be consistently too small and then perhaps plan to buy another small backup or keep your old one running in the basement or garage. This will use much more electricity than just buying a larger one initially. Features such as split shelves and pullout shelves that crank up and down can increase the usable interior space with a smaller size.
Models with the freezer on top are most energy-efficient because the cool air naturally drops from the freezer to cool the refrigerator section. Top-freezer models also tend to have the most interior space for a given exterior size, so they’re ideal if your space is limited.
You can figure on about 80 percent of advertised interior volume as actual usable space.