Laboratory research can harm the environment in many ways, due to high energy usage, single use products and continuous chemical consumption. Ultra Low Temperature Freezers (ULT) in particular are known for their high energy usage, given their average requirement of 16–25 kWh per day.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that world energy consumption will grow by nearly 50% between 2018 and 2050₁, which is greatly concerning as world energy consumption contributes to pollution, environmental deterioration, and global greenhouse emissions. Therefore we urgently need to reduce the amount of energy we are consuming in order to conserve the earth's natural resources, protect ecosystems and contribute to a healthier and happier world.
Although energy consumption by an Ultra-Low-Temperature freezer is necessary for its function, there are ways in which it can be greatly decreased by following simple guidelines during setup, monitoring and maintenance. Implementing these simple preventive measures can minimize energy consumption and freezer operating costs, and extend its operating life. They also mitigate the risk of losing samples and sustains sample viability.
In this quick read, we lay out the 5 ways in which you can help your laboratory be more energy-efficient when using ultra-low temperature freezers, which will not only cut your carbon footprint, but will also save money and make the world a better place for future generations.
5 Top Tips for Freezer Energy Efficiency
- Green Gas
As global warming is at the heart of our concerns, the refrigerants used in all Froilabo freezers comply with the new F-Gas regulations (EU No. 517/2014). Since the 1 st January 2020, the F-Gas European regulation have limited the use of refrigerants impacting The Greenhouse Effect.
Therefore, in order to drastically reduce the environmental impact of our freezers, Froilabo have introduced a 'green gas' version of our refrigeration equipment and will keep them operating for as long as possible. This involves the replacement of harmful refrigerants with natural gases.
Switching to a Froilabo Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer will ensure that your laboratory complies with G-Gas regulations and minimizes environmental harm to the planet.
2. Freezer Alarms
Switching to a Froilabo ULT freezer can further help with your laboratory's energy saving due to our advanced alarm feature.
In case of breakage of the temperature sensor, the freezer goes into alarm and produces cold continuously. This immediately alerts the user, meaning that they can switch off the power or attend to the fault before energy is wasted.
3. Correct Set Up
The correct set up of a Froilabo freezer can further minimize energy consumption in a number of ways.
Firstly, a ULT freezer must not be set up in a small room or hallways. This is because small spaces can make it harder to maintain the set temperature, which can increase the room temperature by 10-15 ° C and put extra stress on the lab's HVAC system, which would result in higher energy consumption.
Secondly, ULT freezers must have at least eight inches of surrounding space. This is so that the heat that is produced has enough room to escape, and will cycle back into the freezer motor which would cause it to work harder and use more energy.
4. Correct Maintenance
Correct maintenance of your ULT freezer is essential to reduce energy wastage.
You must not let ice or dust build up in the freezer, and if it does you must remove it immediately. This is because it can reduces the freezer's capacity and block the freezer's filter, which will require higher energy use as more cold air will be able to seep out. It is therefore important to stay on top of the frost and dust build-up by wiping down the door seals and gaskets monthly with a soft cloth and scraping away ice every few weeks.
In addition, air filters and motor coils must be regularly cleaned. Dust and grime accumulate over the air filter and motor coils over time, which results in the freezer motor working harder than necessary and consuming more energy. Regular cleaning of these components can reduce freezer energy consumption up to 25%. While it's important to check this every few months, the cleaning generally is only required once per year.
Finally, frequently avoiding opening and closing the door, or leaving the door open for extended periods of time, will prevent warm air (and humidity) entering the freezer, which increases the heat load on the compressor.
5. Replace old ULT freezers
When a freezer reaches the end of its lifespan, it can begin to use 2-4 times as much energy as when it was brand new.
The average life-span of a ULT freezer is 7-10 years when operating at -80°C. Although new ULT freezers are expensive, the savings from a reduction of energy usage can easily be over £1,000 annually, which when combined with the benefit to the planet, makes the switch a no-brainer.
If you are unsure whether or not your freezer is on its last legs, the following signs indicate an insufficient freezer that may need replacing:
- Average temperature observed below the set temperature
- Significant rising and falling temperatures when the freezer doors have remained closed
- Gradual increase / decline in average temperature over any period
All these signs can point to an aging compressor that will soon fail and is probably using more energy than needed. Alternatively, it may indicate that there is a leak allowing warm air in.
Get in Touch
If you would like to find out more information about how your laboratory can save energy by switching to Froilabo's refrigeration products, please don't hesitate to contact a member of our team today . We look forward to helping with your requirements.