New Energy-saving Incentives for Lab Freezers Available

ULT Freezer
June 17, 2015

University research labs are known to use a great deal of energy to support research and use large electronic equipment. Lab managers often are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption, and a new program through Penn’s Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services may help these sustainability efforts. The ULT (ultra-low temperature) Freezer Efficiency Program aims to reduce the number of old, under-utilized, and abandoned freezers, and incentivizes the purchase of energy-efficient ULT freezers.

Ultra low temperature (ULT) freezers have become approximately 75% more efficient over the past 6 years and so by replacing underutilized and old freezers with new models may result in significant energy savings.

A comprehensive energy analysis of all freezers on Penn’s campus (excluding those labs in the hospital system) was carried out with the aid of Penn Purchasing Services in December 2014. More than 900 ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers were identified, 106 of which were at least 15 years old. The analysis included estimates of direct energy savings that would result from replacing units with the most efficient models approved by key Penn stakeholders, including Environmental Health and Radiation Safety and representatives from Penn Engineering and Penn Medicine.

This program is funded by the Energy Reduction Fund (ERF) in the Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services and will be piloted for two years or until funds are exhausted. The program is retroactive and freezers recycled, replaced or purchased since January 1, 2015 are eligible for the financial incentive.

The program consists of three components: freezer recycling, freezer replacement, and freezer purchase. Each component offers financial incentives and includes confirmation steps to insure that old freezers have been properly disposed of.

Visit Penn's Facilities & Real Estate Services (FRES) website ( for details about this program. You will be required to log in with your PennKey and Password to view this information. Use the Penn Community link and then Programs and Forms.

Please direct any related questions to Dan Garofalo, Sustainability Director.