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Ultra-low Temperature Freezers

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Design Guidance

Overall Strategies

Overview

Best Practices

  • Inventory and label samples and post map of contents to front of freezer to reduce search time.
  • Raise temperature set points from -80'C to -70'C to save energy and extend compressor life.
  • Keep “back-up” ULT freezers at -50 or -60 degrees Celsius to save half the energy while being ready for emergencies. Establish alternate emergency plans such as having back-up CO2 tanks hooked up to the ULT or adding dry ice to maintain temperatures while waiting for the back-up ULT to get cold.
  • Share refrigerator and freezer units with neighboring labs or consolidate and retire units within a lab. Have a plan in place for reducing the total number of ULTs.
  • ULT’s generate significant waste heat. Purchase models that reject the least amount of heat and optimize the location of ULTs to reduce cooling loads. When supplemental cooling is available, consolidation may make sense; other times, dispersion may make more sense.
  • When consolidating freezers, implement air management strategies such as paneling off the space behind the freezer to create a hot aisle and positioning exhaust vents above the back of the freezers to capture the rising hot air.
  • Consider liquid nitrogen storage as an alternative to ultra-low freezers.
  • Encourage efficient use of freezer space by using appropriately sized supplies, such as tubes, storage racks, and boxes, to store samples in.
  • When possible use dry storage at room temperature instead of cold storage, or use products that allow storage of dehydrated DNA and RNA at room temperature without degradation.
  • Install energy and temperature monitoring systems and implement a predictive maintenance strategy to identify distressed freezers and take early corrective action to prevent failures.

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EB = Existing BuildingsNC = New Construction and Major Renovation

Federal Requirements

Guiding Principles

  • Energy Efficiency ( Guiding Principles [NC])
    Section: II. Optimize Energy Performance

    From the Guiding Principles for NC: “Employ strategies that minimize energy usage. Focus on reducing energy loads before considering renewable or clean and alternative energy sources. Use energy efficient products as required by statute.”
    Determining Compliance: “For new construction, ensure energy efficiency is 30% better than the current ASHRAE 90.1 standard. For modernization, ensure: (1) energy use is 20% below the fiscal year (FY) 2015 energy use Baseline, (2) energy use is 30% below the FY 2003 energy use baseline, (3) the building has an ENERGY STAR® rating of 75 or higher, or (4) for building types not in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, where adequate benchmarking data exists, the building is in the top quartile of energy performance for its building type. For new construction and modernization, use energy efficient products, as required by statute.”

  • Energy Efficiency ( Guiding Principles [EB])
    Section: II. Optimize Energy Performance

    From the Guiding Principles for EB: “Employ strategies that minimize energy usage. Focus on reducing energy loads before considering renewable or clean and alternative energy sources. Use energy efficient products as required by statute.”
    Determining Compliance: “Ensure: (1) the building has an ENERGY STAR rating of 75 or higher, (2) energy use is 20% below the FY 2015 energy use baseline, (3) energy use is 30% below the FY 2003 energy use baseline, or (4) energy efficiency is 30% better than the current ASHRAE 90.1 standard. Use energy efficient products, as required by statute.”