Join the Freezer Challenge 2021

Campus Sustainability Office March 19, 2021
Researcher using lab freezer
Did you know fume hoods account for 1/2 of all campus energy use? By targeting easy energy efficiency opportunities in laboratory spaces, we can reduce our carbon footprint. | Photo: Cornell Photography

About the Challenge

Join Cornell in participating in the 5th annual International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab.

Participating labs will compete against fellow Cornell laboratories and campuses from around the world as they are guided in implementing best practices in cold storage management to achieve greater energy efficiency, sample integrity, and sample access.

What should I know before I sign up?

Participation does not require you to implement any specific changes to your laboratory space. 

Rather, the challenge will provide participating labs with simple solutions on a weekly basis to save energy.  You are then prompted to record success in order to compete with other labs!

  • WHO: All laboratories from all sectors with cold storage can participate.  

  • WHEN: The competition is off and running, with campuses invited to participate anytime between January 1 2021 – July 1, 2021. Scoresheets will be accessible as soon as you register; participating labs can count any actions taken from August 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 on your scoresheet for points.

  • COST: It’s free! But you must register online.

  • AWARDS: Winners get their photo in Nature and recognition at the September 2021 I2SL Conference

  • QUESTIONS? Contact or

Register to Participate

Why should I participate?

Laboratories are the greatest source of energy use on campus.  That means lab spaces have a huge impact when implementing energy efficiency measures.  By reducing energy waste, we save money and carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, helping Cornell reach our goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

Participants in last year's freezer challenge (2020) saved a combined 3.2 million kWh/year as a result of their actions - equal to avoiding 2260 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Get your laboratory engaged with doing science in more sustainable ways – the Freezer Challenge benefits your research and the planet.

More resources for laboratories

Cornell University Green Lab Program

Cornell's Green Lab Certification assists lab users in reducing energy and material waste, and improving overall lab sustainability by providing a checklist of potential actions and levels of achievement to help celebrate accomplishments as a team. We have many materials already created to help you quickly identify energy, water, and other areas of impact.