UC Santa Cruz Biology Teaching Labs Wins Honorable Mention for Freezer Challenge 2020

November 04, 2020

Dr. Harvey permanently decommissioned the Thimann Laboratories cold room and transformed it into a workspace

The 2020 International Freezer Challenge has come to an end and the winners have been announced! Out of the 88 research institutions and 218 labs around the world participating, this year Dr. Julio Harvey has won the Honorable Mention for his tremendous efforts to improve cold storage management and to reduce the environmental impact of the UCSC Biology Teaching Labs. These labs are an essential part of the curriculum for UC Santa Cruz undergraduate STEM students, wherein they learn and enhance their biology and chemistry laboratory techniques and skills.

The Freezer Challenge encourages researchers to implement a variety of best practices related to cold storage management. Over the course of a year, labs receive points for taking sustainable actions related to their cold storage units, including actions that promote energy efficiency, sample accessibility, and sample integrity. Winners are determined based on the number of points they earned as well as the amount of energy they saved. All together, the 2020 Freezer Challenge participants saved a combined ~3.2 million kWh/year. This is equivalent to reducing carbon emissions by 2,260 metric tons per year, or removing 360 passenger vehicles from the road for a year!

UC Santa Cruz will continue to be a leader in the advancement of laboratory sustainability. With our Green Labs Program, a division of the Sustainability Office, UC Santa Cruz’s students, faculty, and researchers will continue to become more educated of the actions we can take as a research university in order to combat the challenges we all face from climate change. For additional information about the Green Labs Program at UCSC, please visit us here!