Skip to main content
NEMS Logo NIH Environmental Management System Logo
NIH Environmental Management System

Take Action to Protect the Future


2023 NIH Freezer Challenge

Sixty-five labs and organizations participated in the 2023 NIH Freezer Challenge to improve freezer management, increase freezer reliability, and reduce energy consumption. 

The challenge was held from January 1 to June 1 of 2023. Challenge initiatives ranged from maintenance options, such as defrosting freezers, to laboratory best-management practices, such as changing the temperature setting of Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezers from -80°C to -70°C. Changing the temperature setting of an ULT freezer from -80°C to -70°C reduces the amount of work that the compressor does, which increases freezer reliability and reduces energy consumption by about 30%. 

In total, the 2023 NIH Freezer Challenge resulted in annual savings of ​740,421 kWh/year, $87,681/year and 546.1 MTCO2e greenhouse gas emissions/year. These savings are from only from sixty-five participants, there are thousands of labs at the NIH​​. These results show the power each lab has to increase freezer reliability while also protecting the environment. ​Imagine what we could do if the entire NIH joined in! Participate in this year's Freezer Challenge to help out!​​

Once the NIH challenge was complete, the results were compiled and submitted to the International Freezer Challenge.​ My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) hosts an annual International Freezer Challenge where thousands of labs from private companies, universities and government organizations compete to see who can reduce the most energy consumed by the freezers in their labs. 

​​​A summary of the 2023 Freezer Challenge 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 including labs that participated and information on the initiatives that were completed.

Savings Table.jpg

Contact NEMS

We look forward to hearing from you. Reach out to us in an email.