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Worcester Community Fridges: Weatherizing and protecting fridge enclosures

Project Description

Since the pandemic, Worcester Community Fridges has strived to fill in the gaps of food insecurity in Worcester by providing a public communal fridge where anyone can donate and take food at one’s leisure

Due to the unique challenge of maintaining a fridge outdoors, our project was meant to explore ways to better protect the fridges from extreme temperatures. Review and evaluate the current structures and how they are impacted by extreme weather. Explore structures used by community fridges in other locations with extreme weather variations, and develop recommendations about how the organization can better protect the fridges against extreme weather so that they operate efficiently and to maximize longevity.

Project Sponsor

Worcester Community Fridges, WooFridges for short, is a grass root program based on a neighbor-help-neighbor approach. Their first fridge opened on January 31st, 2021 at a Pizzeria.

Student Researchers

Zack DiCelico,,  Mechanical Engineering

Ian MacInerney,, Robotics/Mechanical Engineering

Michael Weideman,, Interactive Media and Game Design

Valerie Childers,, Computer Science

Project Goal and Objectives:

The goal of this project is to present WooFridges with cost-effective and viable weatherization plans for their fridges. In the interest of achieving this goal, we came up with the following objectives:

  1. Investigate the impact of the weather on the fridges
  2. Obtain insights on weatherization from experts in the field and other community fridge organizations
  3. Observe the community supporting and maintaining the fridges
  4. Design and analyze solutions
  5. Finalize the designs and recommendations based on community feedback

Final Report and Deliverables

Our team worked with Worcester Community Fridges to create different design recommendations for their fridge enclosures. You can read our report and designs below