Managing cold storage isn't just about the kWh.
Implementing proper management and destruction of refrigerants would have THE GREATEST IMPACT on mitigating global warming. Period. More than rooftop solar, more than planting trees, and more than walkable cities, properly managing and disposing of hydroflurocarbon (HFC) refrigerants has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 89.74 Gigatons. This analysis was done by a team of climate scientists and published last year in the eye-opening book Drawdown.
What's the problem with HFCs? They have a high global warming potential (GWP) - anywhere from 1,000 - 9000 times that of CO2.
What can you do about this? If you're retiring a freezer this year, take an interest in its end of life. Ask your facilities management team how the refrigerants are being removed, and inquire into what will happen to the refrigerants next. And make sure your freezer is disposed of expeditiously - you don't want it to start leaking! If you're purchasing a new freezer, avoid purchasing units that contain HFCs. It doesn't matter how inexpensive they are, just don't buy them. It's literally the number one thing you can do to help mitigate global warming - and it gets you extra points in the Freezer Challenge!
Are you in it to win it?
The winning labs from last year know what it takes to be successful in the Freezer Challenge. We asked them what advice they'd give to labs competing for the first time - check out their tips below.
Special thanks to our 2017 winners for providing this information! As you complete the Challenge, if you have any friendly advice to share with your competitors (or with the labs in 2019) please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.