U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Laboratory Grade Refrigerator and Freezer Specification Version 1.0

On December 21, 2016 the EPA released the Final Version 1.0 ENERGY STAR® Laboratory Grade Refrigerator and Freezer Specification, which provides a guide and test method for identifying the most energy efficient laboratory grade freezer and refrigerator products used for storing non-volatile reagents and biological specimens in laboratory settings. The ENERGY STAR® specification will raise market awareness and encourage continued efficiency improvements. The EPA expects that a range of product types and sizes will be certified, allowing customers to purchase an energy efficient product that will meet their specific sample storage needs. A list of ENERGY STAR certified lab grade refrigerators and freezers can now be found on their website.

Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers: Opening the Door to Energy Savings in Laboratories by the Center for Energy Efficient Laboratories (CEEL)

Completed in August 2016, this study entitled Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers: Opening the Door to Energy Savings in Laboratories evaluated various ultra-low temperature freezers using the EPA ENERGY STAR® test method both in a controlled lab environment and a controlled field test. This study also confirmed that by "chilling up" your ULT freezer from -80 °C to -70 °C, this can reduce "energy consumption by an average of 37% for both standard-efficiency and energy-efficient ULT freezers without any discernable effect on temperature stability." (pg 19) The study outlines recommendations so the state of California can realize 14-49 million kWh in energy savings in 2017 and beyond.

University of California Riverside Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Performance and Energy Use Tests

This study of ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezer performance was conducted by Delphine Faugeroux with the Office of Sustainabiilty at the University of California, Riverside and made available in June 2016. The Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Performance and Energy Use Tests compares three different models of ULT freezer for their energy consumption at different temperatures, temperature uniformity, pull down and warm up time, noise production, and heat production.

DOE Field Study of Energy Efficient ULT Freezers

CU Boulder was one of two universities who participated in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) field study of ULT freezers that resulted in a 2014 report entitled “Field Demonstration of High-Efficiency Ultra-Low-Temperature Laboratory Freezers” prepared for the Better Building Alliance (BBA).

The study demonstrated that there are significant energy savings to be realized by purchasing energy efficient ULT freezers and has led to the minimum energy efficiency requirement of 0.38 kWh/ft3 for ULT freezers using the Energy Star 2014 test method.