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2019 NIH Freezer Challenge Results

​Eight labs and one bio-repository volunteered to participate in the 2019 NIH Freezer Challenge to improve freezer management, increase freezer reliability, and reduce energy consumption. The challenge was held from January 1 to April 1 of 2019. Challenge initiatives ranged from maintenance options, incuding: performing a freezer defrost, changing the temperature setting of Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezers from -80°C to -70°C, and discarding samples that are no longer needed. Simply changing the temperature setting of an Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezer from -80°C to -70°C reduces energy consumption by about 30%. The results shown in the table below show the power each lab has to make a positive change towards protecting the environment and increasing freezer reliability. These savings are from only 9 labs; imagine what we could do if the entire NIH joined in! Participate in this year's​ Freezer Challenge to help out!

 Participation by Lab and IC

NCI​Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis
NHGRI​Reproductive Cancer Genetics Section
NIA​Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) Clinical Core Biorepository
NIDCD​​​Section on Sensory Cell Development and Function, Kindt Lab
​NIDDK​Genetics and Metabolism Section of LDB
​NIDDK​Karen Usdin's Lab
​NIDDK​Liver Disease Branch
NINDSViral Immunology Section at Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurovirology

A summary of the energy savings, costs savings, and greenhouse gas reductions are shown in the table below. Visit the freezer challenge Power BI report for additional freezer challenge data.

2019 NIH Freezer Challenge Annual Savings


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The following table shows the complete list of initiatives completed as part of this challenge.

Detailed Participation Results

​Challenge InitiativeTotal​
​Conduct a complete freezer defrost​26
​Discard samples that are no longer needed (-86°C)​11,097
​Discard samples that are no longer needed (-30°C/-40°C)652
​Transfer long-term samples to LN2 freezers​20,521
​Maintain an electronic sample inventory​106
​Barcode Samples​14
​Consolidate Samples​1,003
​Share freezer space with other researchers​91
​Retire unnecessary freezers3
​Change the ULT freezer temperature setting to -70°C​18
​Store samples at appropriate temperatures​16

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