Guidelines ultrafreezers

The many individual freezers consumes a lot of energy. A -80°C freezer consumes yearly 3000 à 3500 kWh (comparable to the energy consumption of an average Flemish family). If we want to drastically reduce energy consumption, to which Ghent University has committed itself in its energy policy plan, we should not only invest in sustainable and fossil-free buildings, but also focus on a rational use of energy-consuming devices, including these ultrafreeze units. Therefore, the following guidelines apply:

  • Limit the storage in the lab to the working quantities. For long-term storage, use the central storage places (MLM collections, but also animal material, bacterial collections, ...). In order to steer this process more effectively, Ghent University decided to install counters on all individual ultra freezers to make the costs transparent and to be able to charge them in case of avoidable and excessive consumption.
  • Look for opportunities to buy or use a freezer together with several research groups. This not only saves costs in consumption, but also in purchase and maintenance.
  • Let the temperature depend on the type of material. Not everything has to be stored at -80°C! The University of Boulder, Colorado compiled a list of 119 biological samples that can be stored at -70°C or warmer. A freezer at -70°C has 20 to 30% less energy consumption than a freezer at -80°C.
  • Defrost every ultrafreezer annually. The ice that forms takes up space and increases energy consumption. Take the opportunity to put everything in order and get rid of unknown or unnecessary products; this will create space again.

Central biobanks

Interesting links