Does your lab have cold storage? Get involved in the International Freezer Challenge!

The International Freezer Challenge is an annual competition hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab to promote energy efficiency in cold storage management, which can generate significant energy and cost savings while also supporting efficient research practices. The Freezer Challenge covers all forms of cold storage, including refrigerators, freezers and cold rooms. 

This year, UBC Green Labs administered an internal competition to promote the International Freezer Challenge. Researchers participated in the Challenge and completed various actions that promote efficient use of cold storage units such as cleaning out old freezers, scheduling preventative maintenance for units, chilling up ULT setpoints and cleaning condenser coils. These small actions can lead to big payoffs.

Together, participating UBC labs chilled up 13 ULT freezers to -70C, and saved an estimated 422 kWh per day, the equivalent to 13 homes' worth of electricity use! If these maintenance practices continue, they could save more than $13,800 in energy costs a year. 

Congratulations to our participating groups and winning labs!

1. MMAP Biobank, Microbiology & Immunology 234 kWh
2. Hallam Lab, Microbiology & Immunology 144 kWh
3. Jefferies Lab, Michael Smith Laboratories 44 kWh

By engaging with UBC’s Green Labs Program, these labs have demonstrated leadership in sustainable research and highlighted the important impact that our researchers can have through simple actions that reduce the environmental impact of their research while also supporting world-class research practices.

This is an important contribution towards UBC’s sustainability goals and highlights the role that labs play in reaching those goals. The competition "fits into the university’s overarching sustainability goals, including UBC’s Climate Action Plan and energy reduction goals, by engaging and educating researchers on an impactful energy saving behaviour,” said Bud Fraser, Senior Planning and Sustainability Engineer. Thank you to all the participating labs and to the Green Labs community.

The International Freezer Challenge takes place every year January through June. This year, 1,200 labs from 27 countries participated and saved a total of 6,732 metric tons of carbon dioxide.  Since the first year in 2017, labs from around the world have saved a total of 23.7 million kWh of energy. 

Interested in participating in the next Challenge? Follow the link below to learn more!