Save Energy, Improve Safety With Lab Freezer Challenge

Save Energy, Improve Safety With Lab Freezer Challenge

December 29

The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab, two sustainability-focused nonprofits, have teamed up to coordinate the 2017 North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge.

Laboratories in all types of organizations are invited to participate, with a registration deadline of January 15, 2017. Through May 1, registered labs are invited to optimize their cold storage management practices, including all types of freezers, refrigerators, and cold rooms. Participants will be scored via an on-line tool, with points assigned to various actions. Awards will be presented at the October 2017 I2SL Conference in Boston.

Focus areas of the challenge include:

  • Good management practices (defrosting freezers, cleaning out equipment, creating/updating inventories, converting to liquid nitrogen storage, storing samples at high density)
  • Temperature tuning (adjusting the setpoint of ultra-low-temperature freezers, storing samples at appropriate temperatures)
  • Retiring/upgrading (retiring old units completely, replacing older units with energy-efficient units)
  • Cutting-edge practices (sharing refrigeration space, bar coding samples, trying/adopting room-temperature sample storage)

Rethinking use of cold storage provides an important opportunity for labs to save energy and money, as well as increase safety. (This recent blog from National Geographic highlights the dangers of not knowing what's in a lab freezer, and neglecting periodic reassessment of the need to keep or discard samples.)

For complete information and to sign up, visit

Grumman/Butkus Associates supports the goals of the challenge, and welcomes your questions about a broad variety of strategies for creating more resource-efficient laboratories. Contact our lab sector leader Dan Doyle with questions.