Developments to Watch
THE OZONE LAYER WILL LOVE THESE REFRIGERATORS
A thermos bottle the size of a refrigerator? That's pretty much what Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. has developed to help makers of refrigerators and freezers comply with federal requirements to trim energy consumption and eliminate chlorofluorocarbons by 1995. CFCs are used to blow bubbles in the plastic foam that insulates most fridges.
Owens-Corning's new insulation, Aura, consists of fiberglass mats sealed in steel vacuum panels. The Toledo company says Aura can already meet the toughest targets being considered by the Energy Dept.--a 50% cut in energy con- sumption by 1998 on top of a required 25% reduction this year. Aura allows a refrigerator's walls to be slimmed down, expanding capacity by about 20% and leaving more room for your favorite foot-long sandwiches. The first refrigerator using it is due out next year. And since insulation can also keep hot stuff hot, Aura may show up in more efficient ovens and water heaters. EDITED BY PETER COY