We are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Freezer Challenge - our largest competition since launching the program five years ago!
Despite the difficulties facing the world in 2020 and 2021, this year’s challenge was not only our largest with over 300 laboratories joining the competition, but participants saved more energy than ever before. The Freezer Challenge, a cold storage competition coordinated by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), encourages scientists across the government, academic, biopharma, and clinical sectors to implement a variety of best practices related to cold storage management in their own labs. Through friendly competition, the Freezer Challenge helps labs optimize the sustainability of cold storage management in laboratories around the globe.
Over two-hundred and twenty-two laboratories completed the competition, representing 113 different research institutions from around the world, and saving a combined ~4.3 million kWh/year, up from 3.2 million kWh/year in 2020. This is the equivalent to reducing carbon emissions by 3,000 metric tons per year.
Throughout the Freezer Challenge, which takes place over a six-month period, labs receive points for taking sustainable actions related to their cold storage units, including actions that promote energy efficiency, sample accessibility, and sample integrity. Winners are determined considering both the number of points earned as well as the amount of energy saved.
This year we have decided to give out more awards than ever before thanks to the great achievements from participating labs. For the first time, we had winners from countries outside of Europe and North America including labs in Australia and Indonesia. We also had our very own Cinderella story, with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who had 34 labs participate in the challenge, receive a well-deserved award after receiving honorable mentions multiple times in the past.
Without further ado, here are the 2021 Freezer Challenge winners!
2021 Freezer Challenge Organizational Winners:
After having earned the top Academic Organization award for the fourth year in a row, we have awarded The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign our Winning Streak Award for 2021. They saved over 300,000 kWh over the past year through their efforts.
Honorable mentions to organizations go to Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S.), the University of Southern Denmark, and the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia, all of whom gave the competition their all, achieving some incredible energy savings in the process. Great work!
For the first time in 2021, we are awarding multiple Lab Awards per research sector, recognizing small, medium, and large labs (by number of lab members), as well as biorepositories/core facilities.
Individual laboratory winners of the 2021 Freezer Challenge are:
Winners will be honored at the I2SL conference on September 27, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be featured in an upcoming article in the journal Nature.
The Freezer Challenge is a joint program run by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), and is made possible through the generosity of industry sponsors. Our sponsors for the 2021 competition are: Eppendorf, Stirling Ultracold, PHCbi, Elemental Machines, B Medical Systems, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.