Does your lab have refrigerators, freezers, or cold rooms for sample storage? 

If so, join the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge! Compete with labs to improve sample accessibility & integrity, reduce costs, and improve energy efficiency for cold storage in your lab! UBC labs on both Vancouver and Okanagan campuses will win prizes for their participation in the Freezer Challenge (see below) and that participation automatically helps UBC compete internationally with other universities to win the challenge!


The Freezer Challenge is a free, annual competition designed to promote best practices in cold storage management, run by the non-profits My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL). Winning organizations are awarded with plaques, and winning labs receive certifications and recognition in an online publication. Winning labs will also be recognized at the annual I2SL conference in the fall, and earn bragging rights.

Second only to fume hoods, your lab's cold storage is likely the next biggest category of energy consumers in your lab space. The competition covers all forms of cold storage—including refrigerators, freezers, and cold rooms. Labs participating in the challenge are asked to submit an online score sheet. Individual labs earn one point for each action taken per refrigeration unit—including points earned, kWh saved, points earned per cold storage unit, and kWh saved per cold storage unit. Score sheets are submitted to My Green Lab at the end of the competition. Individual laboratories and organizations are scored against their peers, and the winning labs and research institutions receive awards.

Join the thousands of scientists around the world who compete in the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge each year to learn how to be more energy efficient with their lab's cold storage, improve sample accessibility, reduce risk, and save costs for their institutions. Visit the Freezer Challenge website to learn more.



Freezer Challenge participants will: 

  • Reduce energy consumption 
  • Improve sample accessibility and sample integrity
  • Learn freezer maintenance techniques
  • Receive recognition and prizes! This year, UBC labs can win the equivalent dollar value of their annual energy savings, up to $500 per lab. Labs can win in one of two categories, either most actions taken per cold storage unit, or most overall energy saved. 


The 2024 Freezer Challenge launched January 1! Labs must submit their scoresheets by July 1, 2024.



2023 International Freezer Challenge

In 2023, UBC 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 saved an estimated 142 kWh/day, the equivalent of 241 chest freezers! 

Congratulations to our winning groups: the Foster Lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and UBC Okanagan's Hazardous Waste Program


2022 International Freezer Challenge

In 2022, 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


Thank you to all the participating labs and to the Green Labs community.