This article was originally published on Lab Manager. It was written by My Green Lab's Christina Greever.
Bringing laboratory cold storage out of the shadows and into the light
They lurk in hallways and equipment rooms, ever-present, ever-consuming, absolutely essential to the vast majority of scientific research endeavors, and yet usually neglected unless they cause trouble. Laboratory refrigerators and freezers should be recognized for what they are: incredibly useful tools and also outsized energy consumers. At least 58,000 ultralow temperature freezers (-70°C), 74,000 -20°C freezers, and 94,000 refrigerators exist within the scientific sector in California alone, consuming a combined conservative estimate of 780 Gwh/year. In California alone. That is the approximate energy use of 63,000 homes over the course of a year. Imagine the global impact of this type of equipment.
What is the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge?
Thankfully, there is a global competition seeking to curb the energy consumption of this type of laboratory equipment. The International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, now in its fifth year, seeks to help scientists realize the variety of benefits that result from dedicating a small amount of time and effort to their refrigerators and freezers each year. These benefits include:
What began as a small competition rooted in sound best practices has now grown to global scale, attracting the participation of 88 different research institutions in 2020 alone. It isn’t too late to join the 2021 Freezer Challenge either—there are still five months left before this year’s deadline of July 1, 2021. By participating, you can be a part of the 9.9 million kWh/year saved over the past five years. That’s enough to offset the carbon emissions associated with driving over 15 million miles! Winners of the Freezer Challenge are recognized at the annual International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) Conference and featured in an article in the journal Nature.
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