Welcome to the CU Green Labs Shared Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Program!

Program Background shared ULT freezer advertisment
Get Started
Freezer Locations
Rates
Expectations and Inventory Requirements
Freezer Monitoring/Alarm Systems
Decontamination Procedures & Risk Statement
Quartzy
Invoicing
Our Freezers

Program Background

The goal of the Shared ULT Freezer Program is to establish efficiently utilized, shared ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers around the CU Boulder campus. Scientists are able to rent space in an ULT freezer instead of purchasing an entire freezer for their lab. By developing a model where ULT freezers can be shared between several different labs, this promotes equipment sharing on our campus, reduces laboratory plug loads, encourages more efficient use of freezer space, and contributes to the sustainability culture of the CU Boulder campus. CU Green Labs wishes to encourage a culture of shared lab equipment on our campus not just for the very expensive, specialized pieces of equipment but also for more general items such as incubators, centrifuges, and freezers. The fees collected from the use of our shared ULT freezers may go toward the cost of repairing the freezers or replacing the freezers at their end-of-life. Overall, the purpose of our program is to save research dollars, save researcher time, and minimize the environmental footprint of research taking place at CU Boulder. Funding was provided by Sustainable CU, Facilities Management, and the College of Arts and Sciences for the purchase of four shared ULT freezers for the campus.

See this presentation for more information: A pilot program at CU Boulder to rent space in local, shared ultra-low temperature freezers

Get Started

To get started with renting space in one of our shared ultra-low temperature freezers, contact greenlabs@colorado.edu. When you contact us, please ask us any questions you may have. If you are already decided you'd like to try our program, please include the following information in your email. 

  1. Which Green Labs freezer you're interested in renting space in.
  2. Approximately how much freezer space your lab currently is looking for (for your current needs), and what dimension of space you're looking to rent (freezer boxes or bulkier items).

Freezer Locations

  • 3rd Floor of the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building (JSCBB)
  • 3rd Floor of Ramaley (for EBio, IPhy, and MCOL only)
  • Wilderness Place
  • **Available Soon** 4th floor of Porter Biosciences
  • Write us to suggest where the next shared ULT freezer should go when we have funding!

Rates

All below rates have been approved by the University of Colorado Boulder Controller's Office and are applicable for all freezers in our program.

$0.25/month/2" tall freezer box

$0.37/month/3" tall freezer box

$0.20/month/liter volume of space for bulkier items

Expectations and Inventory Requirements

  • Freezer space is for rent on a per-box basis or at a bulk price for oddly shaped items. Labs will be charged a monthly rate based on the inventory of boxes recorded in Quartzy.
  • Labs are expected to use Quartzy to keep inventory of their freezer boxes and samples. It is critical that CU Green Labs knows which freezer boxes or items belong to each laboratory sharing space in the ULT freezer, and we will use Quartzy to do this. CU Green Labs encourages inventorying of freezer samples to allow for knowledge of what each samples is, when it expires, and who it belongs to. Knowing these details about each sample helps to facilitate periodic sample cleanouts which reduces the overall need for energy consumptive ultra-low temperature freezers. 
  • Place your freezer boxes back on the same shelf and rack and preferably the same location you originally stored them in for these shared freezers.
  • Freezer space will be rented out based on actual, current laboratory needs...not on future space needs.
  • CU Green Labs or a Freezer Manager will assist your lab with setting up Quartzy initially for all the freezer boxes you wish to store. Once boxes are established in Quartzy and you have been granted access to Quartzy, the lab is responsible for sample-level inventorying.
  • Important: If you need to add a new freezer box or bulkier item to the shared freezer, please contact CU Green Labs or the Freezer Manager. You must contact us because only administrators in Quartzy can add new locations to a freezer. Likewise, if you consolidate your samples and remove a freezer box permanaently from the freezer, please contact us and tell us which Quartzy box location to make available again for another lab to use.
  • Labs will be required to physically label their freezer boxes in shared freezers with the Rack Letter + Box Number + Lab Name

Freezer Monitoring/Alarm Systems

Freezers in the shared ULT freezer program are connected to temperature alarm systems. The freezer in JSCBB is on Andover, and the freezers in Ramaley, Wilderness Place, and Porter are on a system called Insight. Regardless of the system used, labs who use the shared ULT freezer will be asked to be on the contact list in the event the shared freezer they are using goes into alarm. Labs should provide Green Labs with at least two individuals that can be contacted 24/7 by these alarm systems in the event the freezer is having a temperature critical issue. Green Labs does not have after hours building access to JSCBB, Ramaley, Porter or Wilderness Place but lab members do. Also, lab members will be the best able to make a decision regarding critical research samples if the shared freezer is failing. These freezers and brand new and we do not anticipate this to happen, but we want to be prepared in the event of a failure anyway.

Decontamination Procedures & Risk Statement

If there is an incident when a CU Green Labs shared ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezer doesn’t hold temperature and your samples thaw and leak out of their primary containers, your lab will be responsible for addressing the leak, cleaning up the freezer, and properly decontaminating the freezer. Each CU Green Labs shared ULT freezer is equipped with a temperature monitoring system that will send out notifications if the freezer fails. CU Green Labs cannot be held responsible for sample loss, theft, damage, etc., and items will not be replaced or have their value refunded by CU Green Labs. Storing items in this shared ULT freezer is at your own risk. The purpose of the Shared ULT Freezer Program is to save research dollars, researcher time, and minimize the environmental footprint of research taking place at CU Boulder. At the freezer’s end of life, CU Green Labs will be responsible for final decontamination of the freezer.

Quartzy

Quartzy is a free, web-based lab inventory and order request management system. Labs using the Green Labs shared ULT freezers will be required to keep an inventory of their freezer contents in Quartzy, and will be encouraged to develop an inventory down to the sample level. As many lab members as necessary can be given Quartzy access to add samples to their inventories. All that is needed is a good email address! Lab members will be given access such that they can modify the inventory they add to Quartzy, but will be unable to delete/modify anyone else's inventory. Green Labs and Freezer Managers have administrative access to Quartzy so that we can assist if necessary. Once your lab has expressed interested in the shared ULT freezer program, Green Labs will work with you to get the list of people in your lab that need Quartzy access. Learn more at the Quartzy Website.

Invoicing

Each lab utilizing a shared ULT freezer will be charged a monthly fee for the space rented in the Green Labs freezers. An invoice will be generated every three months by the UMC Business Office for the prior three months of space rented. The speedtype your lab has provided to Green Labs will be charged upon generation of the invoice. If you need to dispute any charges, please do so within the same fiscal year as the invoice. Green Labs may increase or decrease the frequency of invoicing due to the needs of the program. 

Our Freezers

In the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building and at Wilderness Place we have Thermo TSX600 freezers that were purchased in 2016. This is one of the most energy efficient ultra-low temperature freezers on the market. Each freezer is 815 L, divided into four shelves, has a 600 2" tall freezer box capacity, and is equipped with freezer racks that hold 2" tall freezer boxes. Annette Erbse is the freezer manager for the freezer in JSCBB, and Austin Hudmon is freezer manager for the one at Wilderness.

In Ramaley Biology we have two Stirling Ultracold SU780UE freezers that were purchased in 2016, and in Porter there is a Stirling that was purchased in 2019. This is also one of the most energy efficient ultra-low temperature freezers on the market. The freezers are 780 L, divided into six shelves, have a 600 2" tall freezer box capacity, and is equipped with options for racks that fit 2" tall freezer boxes or 3" tall freezer boxes. Dustin Quandt is the freezer manager for these freezers.