The Winner
Magee-Women’s Research Institute

“Chill Up” Challenge by Pitt Green Labs

About the Project

Research labs can be 3 to 6x more energy intensive than commercial buildings. The Pitt Green Lab designation provides recommendations and resources to help Pitt laboratories incorporate sustainability best practices. However, only 22 labs have participated in the Pitt Green Lab program out of ~2,000 labs across the University. One of the most impactful changes a lab can make is replacing old, energy-inefficient, ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers and “chilling up” their ULT freezers to -70 rather than -80. This small shift can reduce energy consumption by an average of 37% without compromising specimens. However, cost is frequently prohibitive and principal investigators are often reluctant to increase freezer temperature without understanding the benefits. Our proposed “Chill Up” Challenge seeks to both reduce research carbon emissions and incentivize labs to join Pitt Green Labs by offering freezer upgrade rebates, incentives to share freezers, and reducing barriers to “chilling up” with education and access to cleaning freezers.

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