On a personal note, I learned about an additional benefit of investing in a super-efficient refrigerator. About two months ago my wife and I finally bought a new refrigerator—the new Whirlpool model that is the most efficient on the market. We have been pleased with the unit and had been anticipating years of savings on our electric bill, but didn't realize the added benefits of the unit until we were without electricity for 68 hours due to the recent storms in the Maryland DC suburbs. The ice stayed frozen in the freezer (and more importantly all the food) and even milk in the refrigerator is still fresh two weeks after the power was restored. So while most of our neighbors lost everything in their refrigerators, ours stayed cold, avoiding the loss of hundreds of dollars in spoiled food.
While ACEEE frequently talks about the non-energy benefits of investing in energy efficiency, we don't often have such dramatic first-hand experiences with what it means. My hat is off to the engineers at Whirlpool for an impressive design.