NIH Policy Promotes Energy Conservation and 
Improved Reliability for Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers
NIH Manual Chapter 261016-16 details how to manage ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers at the NIH to increase freezer reliability and decrease energy consumption. 

Manual Chapter 26101-16 Overview

The NIH will preserve and protect research materials in cold storage in an energy efficient manner. This policy:

(1) requires the selection of energy efficient ULT freezers when acquiring new units;
(2) requires all ULT freezers to be listed in the NIH Property System, and when no longer needed, disposed of according to property disposal requirements;
(3) requires regular maintenance to be performed on all ULT freezers; and
(4) directs the placement of ULT freezers in locations that are adequately ventilated, temperature controlled, and away from excessive foot-traffic.

This policy further establishes the procedures for the inspection of NIH facilities to ensure compliance with this policy; to note deficiencies; and to remedy non-compliant occurences.

NIH Freezer Challenge 

The NIH is challenging labs to go beyond the NIH Freezer Policy to further reduce energy consumption and operating costs from freezers at the NIH.  Labs are provided with challenge initiatives and each lab can choose what inititiaves they will undertake.  For more information on the challenge and how you can participate, visit the NIH Freezer Challenge Page.

Energy Star Certified Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers                            

The US Environmental Protection Agency has included ULT freezers in the Energy Star program.  NIH Manual Chapter 26101-16 requires the selection of an energy efficient model when purchasing a new ULT freezer.  To meet this requirement all new ULT freezers purchased at NIH must be Energy Star Certified.  Follow this link to the EPA's Energy Star Certified ULT Freezer Website.

Report Your Freezer Failures

The NIH is analyzing Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezer failures that occur within the intramural research community to identify trends in ULT freezer failures. The findings from this data analysis will be used to increase the reliability of  ULT freezers at the NIH.  Please report ULT freezer failures in the freezer failure tracking form.

Preventative Maintenance

The following link contains more inforamtion on preventative maitnenance including a maintenance video.  ULT Freezer Maintenance Video and Checklist.

Division of Scientific Equipment & Instrumentation Services

The NIH Division of Scientific Equipment & Instrumentation Services (DSEIS) can help you meet the requirements of purchasing Energy Star Freezers and will perform preventative maintenances on ULT freezers.  Check out DSEIS webpage for more information and contacts. 

ULT Freezer Predictive Monitoring

The NIH is currently researching predictive monitoring systems for Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) Freezers.  More information on predictive monitoring can be found at the link below.

For more information:
Contact the NIH Division of Environmental Protection (DEP):

Special Thanks
The Office of Research Facilities with generous unwavering support from Institutes and Centers and entities within the Office of the Director developed Manual Chapter 26101-16. Many thanks to all those who supported this effort.