12/15/2011 03:35

The state is financing up to 60 percent of 25,000 new refrigerators for low income people, to encourage higher-efficiency appliances use.
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Around 900 people across the country traded in their energy-guzzling refrigerators for new ones on Tuesday, the first day of a program through which social welfare clients can buy 25,000 heavily subsidized fridges.

The lines in stores stretched out the doors on the first day of the National Infrastructure Ministry program, said Eddie Bet Hazavdi, energy conservation expert manager at the ministry’s energy conservation department, during a press conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning.

The state is financing up to 60 percent, or NIS 2,000 worth, of 25,000 new refrigerators for low income people, to encourage all Israelis to use higher-efficiency appliances that curb both spending and pollution. Eligible consumers can visit a ministry website (, provide their ID numbers and afterward buy their new fridges from one of the stores listed on the page.

In February, a similar, but slightly less subsidized opportunity will be available to the general public – who will be able to replace their fridges with 50,000 new ones at a subsidy of 30%, a price that includes a three-year warranty, transportation of the new fridge and evacuation of the old one for scrapping, ministry director-general Shaul Zemach explained.

Available for purchase are three models from Samsung, two from LG and one from Beko.

“We are here inaugurating the first large project, one among many, on Israel’s route toward energy efficiency that will by the end of this decade reach 20% efficiency. That’s the goal, and we have today simply translated our virtual program into something that is practical,” National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said.

The fridge swaps are expected to bring an average annual savings of NIS 600 to each family, and by 2020, a total savings of about NIS 1.08 billion nationwide, according to the ministry.

Also beginning in February, 10,000 air conditioners will be available for trade-in to disadvantaged populations at a 40% subsidy, Zemach said. That same month, the entire country will be able to buy 1.5 million fluorescent light bulbs at a significantly reduced cost of NIS 20 per three-pack. The ministry officials said they hoped that television converters, washing machines and electric boilers would soon follow.

Refrigerators were the logical first choice in appliances, as they are constantly in use.

Zemach and Landau recommended replacing fridges that are more than 10 years old.

“This is a passive appliance – it is always there and it is always going on when the thermostat comes to the conclusion that the temperature is too low,” Landau said.

The minister said that he expects the program will bring significant economic benefits, particularly to lower income families, as well as reduce Israel’s carbon footprint.