Welcome to this next installment of the Freezer Challenge Blog! You'll periodically see messages such as this between now and the end of the challenge on July 1. We now have over 150 labs from 18 different countries participating in this year's competition. Amazing!
There are three months left of the Freezer Challenge, still giving you plenty of time to implement sustainable, efficient, and energy saving actions with your lab's refrigerators and freezers. Remember, you don't have to do all of the actions on the scoresheet - do what makes sense for your lab, what you have time for, or what you wish to prioritize. The more actions you take, the higher your score (and likely higher energy savings too).
If you haven't already, it may be helpful to make a plan with your lab on how to tackle the remaining three months of the Freezer Challenge. And if you haven't yet enlisted others in your lab to help you, now is a great time to reach out! Here are some ideas of how to approach the next few months:
The Freezer Challenge scoresheet is designed so you can return to it as many times as you want between now and July 1. When you try to access your scoresheet, if you get a message from Brilliant Assessments saying you can no longer access your scoresheet, this probably means you accidentally submitted it back to us too early. Email email@example.com if you need us to reopen your scoresheet so you can continue editing!
Two months into the 2021 Freezer Challenge, My Green Lab and I2SL hope that you are making progress through your scoresheets and feeling accomplished as you implement best practices that benefit energy conservation, sample access, and long-term sample integrity.
The graph above is a snapshot of the labs that have registered for the Freezer Challenge as of the end of February by country. Already 121 labs have registered! But if the numbers from your region of the world seem a bit light, why not tell some of your colleagues at your research institution or beyond about the Freezer Challenge too?
There are two categories of awards for the Freezer Challenge - those that go to individual laboratories that take significant action with their cold storage units, and awards that go to entire research institutions. These "Organizational Awards" can only be won if multiple labs from the same institution compete in the Freezer Challenge! Tell colleagues in your department, college, floor, or research area about how to join the Freezer Challenge too, if you want to be in the running for the Top Organization Awards. Remember you can also pull text and images from the media kit we have put together (at the bottom of the Freezer Challenge Resources page) to share via email or social media with your colleagues. Also, if you haven't checked out the articles on the Resources page, go for it!
Many thanks to all of you for helping to make this Freezer Challenge the most impactful one yet!
Welcome to the first blog post of the 2021 Freezer Challenge! These posts will hit your inbox periodically over the next five months with tips, interesting factoids, and updates on the challenge.
The following is an excerpt from an article originally published in Lab Manager in January 2021:
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.
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.
View the full article on Lab Manager here.
Sustainable Procurement & the ACT Label
Not only is Eppendorf the Gold Sponsor of the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge this year, but they also just went through the process of getting four models of ultra-low temperature freezers that they manufacture ACT Labeled. What is the ACT Label, you ask? It is another program of My Green Lab!
The opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of laboratories through smarter purchases is tremendous. The ACT label is the premier eco-nutrition label for laboratory products, including consumables, chemicals, and equipment. By emphasizing accountability, consistency, and transparency (ACT) around manufacturing, energy and water use, packaging, and end-of-life, ACT makes it easy to choose safe, sustainable products. ACT-Labeled products are independently audited by SMS Collaborative and verified by My Green Lab. You can view all the chemicals, consumables, and equipment that are now ACT Labeled in the ACT Database.
Eppendorf has been incredibly supportive of the Freezer Challenge for many years, and now they are showing further dedication to the laboratory sustainability movement by participating in the ACT Label Program.
"The ACT Label provides scientists in labs all over the world guidance about the environmental impact of the products used in their lab. We at Eppendorf see the ACT Label as an additional building block for a sustainable future, especially since all supplier data are reviewed by SMS Collaborative and My Green Lab as third parties. We see a growing number of questions and requests from users worldwide for information about the sustainability of products from Eppendorf – the ACT label is one of our answers. We are proud to have the first ACT Labeled ULT freezers." Statement by Jan Bebermeier, PhD, Global Marketing Manager at Eppendorf AG in Germany.
Congratulations to Eppendorf!! There are just **two** weeks left of the Freezer Challenge! Turn those scoresheets in! Deadline is August 1, 2020.
Keep calm, but keep rocking on with the Freezer Challenge because there are just three weeks left to finish those final sustainable actions on the scoresheet before you must turn it in. What's that final thing you have time to do? Can you find a friend in the lab and together, get it done?
Even if you feel like you haven't had enough time or haven't dedicated enough time to work through your scoresheet, that's okay! Even if you just took one action on your scoresheet since December 1, 2019, please still turn it in to us! The points you earn are contributing to a wider measurement of the global actions that have been taken for the Freezer Challenge this year. Plus, if there are other labs at your institution also participating, your lab's actions could mean the difference between winning Top Organization in your research sector - or somebody else winning that spot!
So, stay positive, rock on, fill out that scoresheet, and set yourself a reminder to turn it in to us by August 1, 2020!