U-M Medical School laboratories encouraged to take Freezer Challenge

April 11, 2023  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Led by the U-M Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS), research laboratories across U-M are participating in the 2023 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge.

The Freezer Challenge is a program organized by the nonprofits My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. It is a way to promote cold storage best practices and encourage labs to take actions that benefit the planet through energy efficiency, while also benefiting the scientists themselves.

All U-M labs that use cold storage can participate. This includes hundreds throughout the medical school research community, which can partake in an internal competition to determine UMMS’ most-improved lab. The top three winners will receive prizes and recognition.

This year’s challenge began Jan. 1 and will run through July 1. Labs that want to participate can register at ocs.umich.edu/freezer-challenge

They can earn points by taking any combination of actions in these areas: good management practices, temperature tuning, unit retirements, upgrades and unplugs; cutting-edge practices; and freezer and sample inventories. OCS will provide participating medical school labs with support in the international competition and will manage the internal competition.

Participants from around the globe in the 2022 Freezer Challenge avoided more than 9.5 million kWh, enough to power 1,300 homes for a year. Their efforts also saved 6,732 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

“This program is a great opportunity for our labs to get involved with the university’s climate action efforts,” said Jack Gosselin, regional energy manager for the medical school in OCS. “The medical school has hundreds of freezers and some can use as much energy as a small residential home. I am excited to see what we can collectively achieve together through this challenge.”

Gosselin is a member of the medical school’s Carbon Neutrality Council, which is leading sustainability efforts with goals to incorporate sustainability and carbon neutrality into the school’s core values; generate awareness and create engagement throughout the school community; implement projects that reduce or avoid expansion of the school’s carbon footprint; and incentivize behaviors that support sustainability.