Frozen at the Freezer: A New Tool for Guided Freezer Inventory Management

Fiona Hogan, University of Virginia

Reducing the need for lab cold storage units starts with an effective cleanout and inventory routine. UVA's Green Labs Working Group (GLWG) has created a tool that any laboratory can adapt to help guide their cold storage cleanouts. The Cold Storage Sample Cleanout Decision Tree was designed to help laboratories sort through their frozen samples more effectively, guiding researchers through improving the space efficiency of cold storage units and safe disposal of unneeded samples. The ultimate goal of this tool is to alleviate pressure to purchase more cold storage units, given the significant environmental impact of those units. The Decision Tree helps labs navigate the decision-making process for those in the lab while simultaneously promoting safety and energy efficiency.

UVA's Green Labs program is well-supported by GLWG and it is through the collaboration of this larger group of stakeholders that this tool was created, demonstrating the strength of the community around lab sustainability being nurtured at UVA.This presentation will provide an overview of how the stakeholder group came together, identified an underlying obstacle labs were experiencing, and worked through a participatory engagement process using tools like Jamboard to create and promote a resource that can be used widely. GLWG hopes to share this process and resource beyond UVA to help researchers make more sustainable decisions easily, enhancing both their research and safety outcomes.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about a model of participatory decision-making being used to engage a collaborative group of stakeholders to support lab sustainability;
  • Learn about the Cold Storage Sample Cleanout Decision Tree and how it can be adapted and utilized in different settings;
  • Gain access to the Cold Storage Sample Cleanout Decision Tree and receive details about the process behind the creation of this resource; and
  • Learn about how stakeholder groups like the Green Labs Working Group can enhance other lab sustainability programs through meaningful engagement.


Fiona Hogan is the Green Labs Specialist in the UVA Office for Sustainability. Fiona specializes in community engagement and facilitation of strategic planning processes. She has over eight years of experience working in higher education, as well as a Master's in Sustainable Development Practice from the University of Florida.


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