What is the Freezer Challenge?

image with words "freezer challenge" and a green snowflake logoDoes your lab have refrigerators, freezers, or cold rooms for sample storage? 
If so, join the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, now in its fifth year as an international competition! Compete with other CU Boulder labs to improve sample accessibility & integrity, reduce costs, and improve energy efficiency for cold storage in your lab! Win prizes (see below) and automatically help CU Boulder compete internationally with other universities to win the challenge!

The Freezer Challenge is a cold storage competition for laboratories run by the non-profit organizations My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL).

Also take advantage of resources provided by EH&S such as their guide for cleaning out freezers and refrigerators.

Visit the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge website!

Important Dates and Registration

The Freezer Challenge runs through July 1, 2021. Online registration is ongoing until July 1st so register today!

Reasons to participate: 

  • Increase energy efficiency
  • Better sample accessibility
  • Improved sample integrity
  • Reduced costs

Freezer Challenge participants will:

  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Develop sample storage management practices
  • Learn freezer maintenance techniques
  • Receive recognition and prizes

Freezer Challenge Score Sheet

Check out the Challenge Webpage at freezerchallenge.org to see what actions your lab can take as a part of the Freezer Challenge. As soon as your lab registers for the challenge, your lab coordinator will receive an email with the electronic scoresheet. Be on the lookout!

CU Boulder Lab Prizes

  • 1st Place: One lab that scores the most points will recieve a $100 gift card to a local restaurant
  • 2nd - 5th Place: Four labs will each recieve a $75 gift card to a local restaurant
  • 6th - 15th Place: Ten labs will each recieve a $50 gift card to a local restaurant

*Gift cards must be used by a group of CU affiliates and cannot be given to a restaurant that is cash-only. You must register on the International Freezer Challenge website in order to be eligible tto win a gift card at CU Boulder. A minimum of 3 points on the scoresheet is required to win a gift card.

info graphic showing prizes that will be awarded for different places


CU Boulder Freezer Challenge Kickoff Events and Award Ceremony

For 2021 CU Green Labs will not be holding kickoff events. Please give us a call or send us an email if you have questions about the Freezer Challenge.

After the Freezer Challenge ends July 1, 2021, Green Labs will organize an award ceremony for the campus to honor those that take the most actions with their cold storage units. If you want to be sure to receive all future messages about the Freezer Challenge and Green Labs in general, ask us to add you to our email list! We can be reached at greenlabs@colorado.edu.

International Laboratory Freezer Challenge Awards

As a CU Boulder lab participating in the Freezer Challenge, you're automatically helping the University of Colorado Boulder compete against other universities to take home the top awards! Awards are given to research institutions based on the total number of points and energy saved. "Organizational awards reward those research institutions that have encouraged many laboratories to make the greatest difference during this challenge" (Freezer Challenge FAQs). With your help, the University of Colorado Boulder could win the Organizational award for the Academia category.

Additionally, awards are also given to individual laboratories who score the most points per number of refrigeration units. Lab awards reckognize those labs who have made the greatest effort to improve their sample management and reduce the impact of their cold storage. 

Organization and Lab winners will have their names and photos published in Nature.

2020 International Freezer Challenge Winners

Organizational winners of the 2020 Freezer Challenge were:

  • The Whitehead Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • AstraZeneca
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Individual laboratory winners of the 2020 Freezer Challenge were:

  • The Learning and Research Laboratory at the University of Bristol
  • The Janssen Biotherapeutics (JBIO) Lab at Janssen Pharmaceuticals in La Jolla, CA
  • The Laboratory of Cell Biology at the Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health