Cool results for Green Labs Freezer Month competition

21 Sep 2016

The Green Labs Freezer Month Competition has given Green Labs Representatives a chilled-out chance to spring clean their freezer use and save energy on campus.

Freezers, particularly Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) machines with their temperatures set to –80 °C, are some of the largest energy users in UQ's laboratories. In fact, one ULT uses the same amount of energy as an average Australian household every single day! And if that freezer is more than 15 years old, it’s an even bigger energy drain, using almost double the energy of a newer model.

Over the last month, Green Labs Representatives have been taking part in the Freezer Month Competition in order to save energy and win some fantastic prizes. Reps were encouraged to try any of the following energy-saving strategies to earn points for their lab:

  • Cleaning out and defrosting their freezer (an unmaintained freezer can use between 12 and 25% more energy than a maintained one)
  • ‘Chilling up’ by raising their ULT freezer temperature from –80 °C to –75 °C or –70 °C (this not only saves energy, but improves a freezer's performance by reducing the workload on its compressor)
  • Switching off or retiring a freezer in favour of sharing freezer space with other lab users (this saves energy and reduces freezer demand)
  • Setting up an inventory by entering samples into a searchable database (every time an upright ULT freezer door is opened and closed, it takes approximately 10 minutes for the freezer to get its temperature back to set point—so having a well-organised inventory means less opening of freezer doors to check the contents, and reduces the risk of compromising sample integrity).

Congratulations to our two competition winners on their very cool achievements: 

  • Kate Kollar, who cleaned out and defrosted five freezers in her laboratory
  • Kerry Roper, who defrosted one of her laboratory’s freezers.

And a big thank you to everyone who took part!