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We are using a General Electric Chest Freezer as our refrigerator. By combining our freezer with an aftermarket Micromatic Sensor Thermostat we are able to control the freezer at refrigeration levels (38-45 degrees). This provides for our refrigeration needs at a much greater energy efficiency compared to a traditional refrigerator based on two primary reasons:

  1. The freezer is insulated to a higher level than an traditional refrigerator
  2. The fact that the door opens from the top preserves the more dense, heavier cold air in the freezer as opposed to allowing it to spill out as it does when a traditional swing-door refrigerator is opened.

The current energy usage estimate for this refrigerator is a little over $5 a year.


We selected a & Paykel Dual Drawer Dishwasher which has an eco option to minimize water and energy usage. The use of 2 drawers allows us to run small loads, saving again on water and energy.

Other Sustainable Features

  • Countertops: The countertops came from Cody High School in Detroit's shop classes.
  • Cabinets: The cabinets were found on Craigslist in Troy. They date back to 1956 and are metal. We painted them with Cres-Lite Alkyd Enamel Finish paint.
  • Shelving: Our shelving for the dishes and glassware is made from birch plywood (leftover from the construction of the library) framed by pieces of maple leftover from the countertops. We used leftover aircraft cable from our overhead lights to provide additional support for the shelves.
  • Dishes and Silverware: The dishes and silverware came from the Brennans' kitchen - surplus from an overseas work assignment.

Eating Areas

  • Booths: The enclosures for the booths were made by Kelly Windows in Detroit. The wood is FSC certified and painted with Benjamin Moore's Aura Paint. The booths are trimmed by leftover maple from the countertops. The tabletops are from shop classes at Foch Middle School in Detroit. The metal base for the tables came from excess steel pieces from an original shoring of our bow trusses (date unknown). Jason Huffhines of Dormouse had the original paint blasted off of the steel, then welded the pieces into a T, and finally waxed them.
  • Tables and chairs: We purchased our retro tables and chairs from the Detroit Public Schools warehouse.

Photo Gallery

See Also