About the Freezer Challenge
Reductions in energy consumption are crucial to reach our ambitious targets for a sustainable Radboudumc. Energy savings can be achieved by improvements in infrastructure and by dedicated employees. In the coming years, laboraties will be more strategically organized and modernized. The Radboudumc Laboratorium Omgeving (RLO) will be implemented that provides central facilities for cold storage and thereby greatly reduce our energy consumption.
The Radboudumc Freezer Challenge, initiated by Teun Bousema, is in perfect alignment with these initiatives. During that challenge, 13 participating groups demonstrated that impressive reductions can be achieved by critically reviewing what samples are stored and discard unused materials. In addition, it pays off to change the temperature setting of freezers, where possible, to -70 °C instead of -80°C. In this video clip, you learn more about the challenge and the winners of the 2020 competition.
The Freezer Challenge was concluded, but you can get support on implementing the changes any time. In this document you will find references on why -70ºC is safe. If you wish to:
1. Check what is in your freezers and discard any materials that are no longer of use. In the process, make sure you store samples at high density and avoid half-filled boxes. Keep track of the boxes you discard for points!
2. After this clean-up, consider whether it is possible to more efficiently store your materials, ensuring freezers are full. This may involve sharing freezers with other groups and thereby reducing the numbers of freezers that are in use. Also within your lab, there may be possibilities to retire old freezers. Where appropriate, make use of the unique offer to replace two old freezers (however old!) with one new energy-efficient freezer free of charge. Details can be found here.
3. For the ULT-freezers still in use: change the temperature to -70°C unless there are very good reasons to keep it at -80°C. We can offer support in changing the temperature and alarm settings (-65°C as lower limit in the alarm settings is recommended).
4. Develop or optimize your sample inventory system to improve the efficient storage and retrieval of samples. We also recommend you make use of the Radboudumc support team for annual freezer maintenance.
Remember: discarding obsolete stocks, defrosting periodically, retiring old freezers and changing the temperature are all beneficial. There are green options for every lab, sample and situation.