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 NIH.  The purpose of the policy is to promote energy efficiency and energy conservation, while improving the reliability of cold storage across NIH facilities.  Benefits include lower operating costs, and improved functionality of freezers leading to fewer freezer malfunctions and failures.

The NIH is hosting a Freezer Challenge to labs to go beyond the NIH Freezer Policy and further reduce energy consumption and operating costs from ULT freezers.  Participants will be given information on  proven ways to reduce energy consumption from ULT freezers.  Each lab can choose what inititiaves they will implement.  For more information on the challenge and how you can participate, visit the NIH 2019 Freezer Challenge Page.

Manual Chapter 26101-16 Overview

The NIH will preserve and protect the viability of 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.

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

Preventative Maintenance

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

NIH Division of Scientific Equipment & Instrumentation Services (DSEIS)
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:
The Office of Research Facilities with generous unwavering support from Institutes and Centers and entities within the Office of the Director developed this Manual Chapter. Many thanks to all those who supported this effort.