One of the many exciting initiatives to receive funding from the SSC in December is the Freezer Challenge Pilot. Put together by the F&S Energy Services Retrocommissioning and Energy Conservation unit, the project will be advancing our efforts in both energy and education.
So, what is the Freezer Challenge? As explained by Paul Foote, the head of the project, “The International Laboratory Freezer Challenge utilizes friendly competition to optimize sustainability of freezer management in laboratories. The Challenge promotes sample accessibility, sample integrity, reduced costs, and energy efficiency by harnessing a spirit of competition within and between laboratories.” It is the result of a collaboration between the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories and My Green Lab. To earn points, competing laboratories can implement good management practices, perform temperature tuning, do retirements and upgrades, and put in place new cutting edge practices.
Benefits of participating and improving freezer practices are not just limited to lessening environmental impacts. More efficient freezer usage can also minimize total costs in the labs, and is not really difficult to practice – so it is a win all around. The project has only just begun here on our campus, but hopefully the draw of competition and environmental stewardship will appeal to many of the 4,000 labs at UIUC, both during the Challenge and beyond.
Thousands of labs around the world have competed in the Challenge, so we will have stiff competition. Be sure to keep an eye on our progress, and consider adding your own lab to the effort!
Written by Laura Schultz