Due to the success of the North American Freezer Challenge last year, the International Institute or Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab (MGL) decided to take the Challenge international! More than 175 labs representing 28 organizations around the world competed in the 2018 International Freezer Challenge, which encouraged lab users to implement best practices in cold storage management. Together, Freezer Challenge participants saved approximately 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year, which is equivalent to reducing carbon emissions by approximately 1,200 metric tons and planting 1,400 acres of forest!
Participants earned points for taking actions such as properly maintaining freezers and refrigerators, discarding old samples, and retiring unneeded units. There were several labs whose efforts earned them a top spot in the competition.
The organizational winners of the Freezer Challenge are:
- The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- The La Jolla, California campus of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The individual laboratory winners are:
- The Brain Inflammation Group, Luckman Lab, and the SPB Group Labs managed by Elena Redondo at the University of Manchester
- The Janssen Immunology Biology Lab at La Jolla, California, led by Steven Nguyen, Scientist, Immunology Therapeutic Area, Janssen Research & Development LLC
- The Inorganic and Radiation Analytical Toxicology Branch from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The Eye and Vision Research Biorepository at Eversight
The winners will be honored at the Go Beyond Awards and Freezer Challenge Awards luncheon, which is hosted at the 2018 I2SL Annual Conference, October 14-17, 2018, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The conference also features a Conversation with the 2018 Winners. The panel of winners will discuss how to run a successful Freezer Challenge competition at your lab, promote outreach activities, and obtain institutional support during the Challenge. The winners will also describe the benefits of enhanced lab efficiency on energy savings.
The International Freezer Challenge aimed to raise awareness about the environmental impact of cold-storage and educate scientists on how to mitigate their impact. Energy savings translate to cost savings, so when scientists save on overhead costs, resources can be re-directed towards research. This year's Challenge was sponsored by Stirling Ultracold, Eppendorf, and ThermoFisher Scientific.
We hope you will stay connected by joining us at the awards luncheon or keeping an eye out for the winners' pictures in Nature magazine!