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  1. Freezer Challenge 2019 Register and Participate

    Associated Project(s): 
    Click here to see this online
    University of Illinois 2019 International Freezer Challenge Participation

    Register NOW! (click here), history, recognitions, accomplishments & 2019 Goals

    U of I Won 1st place internationally
    Top four laboratory teams scoring the highest point totals during the 2018 Freezer Challenge  
    Top four laboratory teams scoring the highest point totals during the 2018 Freezer Challenge  

    Being the best at reducing the energy required for laboratory cold-storage and implementing sample management best-practices earned the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign first place in the 2018 International Freezer Challenge, leading our peers and joining first place organizations in multiple categories.... read more

      2018 award currently on display at IGB in the CABBI lab area
      The 2018 International Freezer Challenge award on display, in the CABBI lab area at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

    Worldwide recognition

    The University of Illinois research community has received international recognition from a number of organizations and media publications.

    top achievement totals from 2018  
    In 2018, 45 Labs made this BIG of an impact, join us to help change the world!  

    Highlights from lab efforts in 2018

    Researchers rallied to apply best practices in sample-storage management, reducing their lab's carbon footprint and submitting their efforts for recognition in the International Freezer Challenge. Particpating researchers were awarded a certificate for demonstrating leadership in Environmental Stewardship and Sustainable Laboratory Practices. Register to receive your lab's 2019 scoresheet! (sample scoresheet attached)

      mygreenlabs freezer challenge video
      Take the Challenge Today!

    Goals for 2019 competition: DOUBLE-UP!

    This year's goal is to DOUBLE last year’s:

    - Participation of researchers from 45 labs  to 90 labs

    - Energy reduction of an estimated 720 kWh/day to 1500 kWh/day



    Illinois can win again! Only one organization (the CDC) has won twice in their division. Illinois can join them in 2019!

      FreezerChallengeUI website
      Visit website for more details! (click image)

    Join us and submit your scoresheet by midnight, May 1 to achieve world class results!

    For help getting started contact:
    Paul Foote at

    Think Globally-Act Locally

  2. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Tail end of last week really picked up, coinciding with the weather, I guess. The first couple weeks of helping people with their bikes is always a welcome change from just wrenching on bikes for sale. Feels more on mission or something.  

    I reorganized to display the For Sale bikes better, which will make test rides and purchasing of the bikes easier for patrons—at least that’s the hope.

    This week we are closed and I am working today and tomorrow then taking Wed – Fri off. I hope to make some headway in safety checking and finalizing another 10 bikes while we are closed. That should put the number of For Sale bikes in the 40+ range.


    Visitors: 57

    Sales: $164.80

    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tire/tubes: 4 for $35



    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  3. Weekly Updates for Zero Waste

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi Pete and Shawn—

    Zero waste activities this past week were that I heard back from the School of Art and Design, which may be interested in acquiring the EPS densifier. I have an email out to Morgan, Pete, and Joe Pickowitz to identify the right person for Art and Design to work with on a possible transfer.

    I also reviewed further PWR-SWATeam comments on the waste-reduction goals for iCAP Objective 6.1.

    Best regards,

    Marya Ryan

  4. 2018 International Freezer Challenge - 1st place internationally

    Associated Project(s): 

    We Won 1st place internationally in the Institutional category for last year’s efforts!

    My Green Labs and I2SL hosted the 2018 International Freezer Challenge see category winners here

    Place Photo here

    Worldwide recognition published through these media outlets:

    Lab Manager Magazine, Cold Storage March 2019

    Published article with participants quoted for expert advice here  

    Nature Magazine feature published in Oct. 2018 (see attached PDF)

    S-Labs highlights our achievements in their short-listed profiles here (PDF of short list attached)

    ISEE and Facilities & Services published news releases U of I Wins Freezer Challenge & 2018 International Freezer Challenge Champions

    Highlights from lab efforts in 2018

    Achievements from researchers in the 2018 competition!

    # of labs submitted score sheets


    # of freezers/ refrigerators impacted


    # of units defrosted and/or cleaned coils


    # of units retired due to no longer needed


    # of units replaced with a more efficient model


    # of units that were cleaned out and/or removed samples


    # of units where you updated or created new  inventories


    # of samples moved from colder to warmer storage 


    # of units created a searchable digital inventory


    # of units containing a Barcoded inventory


    # of units shared among research groups


    # of researchers that registered labs


    # of individual labs registered


    Goal for this year is to DOUBLE last year’s participation of 45 labs in 17 buildings and energy reduction, which totaled an estimated 720 kWh/day from October 2017 through June 2018. The annual total of 262,800 kWh of electricity saved during the competition is the approximate equivalent of the yearly energy used by 25 typical U.S. homes.

    We can repeat the WIN; so far, the CDC is the only group to win twice in their division.

    Join us


    Thank you

    Paul Foote

    Think Globally- Act Locally

  5. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, As the numbers will show: we had a very slow week. Not a lot of visitors in but the weather was pretty gnarly, too. Snow never helps.

    All told, we have 40 bikes as in-progress shop builds or for sale, organized about as well as they can be in the back of the shop. Had my staff work on that last week.

    This week I’ll get a handle on summer availability for my staff and make a dent in the bike pile. I was contacted last week by an F&S intern about reviewing the Campus Bike Plan, so I’ll dig into that a bit this week, too.


    Visitors: 29
    Sales: $20


    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  6. Weekly Updates for Zero Waste

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi Pete and Shawn--

    Zero waste activities for the past week were that I emailed the Siebel Design Center, the School of Art and Design, and the Architecture Annex to see if any of them would like the EPS densifier.

    Best regards,

    Marya Ryan

  7. Week 6 Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    Good afternoon all,

    This week’s meeting went well and we were able to discover more information on the low-flow water fixtures installed in some of the university buildings. I was also able to update the excel sheet, to the correct display for when we get data. At the beginning of the meeting, I was able to catch the group up on the information I read in the Master Utilities Plan and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) convention. The CHP convention had very general information on CHP generation and some specifics in areas we are not interested in. There was not much information on how water consumption is monitored or improving.

    The Master Utilities Plan was very informative on how Abbot Power Plant and the Chiller plants work. It gave good background information and the condition they are in. It also provided suggestions on how to bring them back up to operational standards.

    During the meeting, we called Mark Warner, and asked him for more information on the low-flow water fixture installations. We were not able to gain an active list of updated buildings, but were able to learn some other information. We learned that Guy Grant was in charge of the program, and we will contact him in the following weeks. We also found out there were some complaints about the low-flow fixtures which led to the removal of some of these fixtures. For example, some of the sinks are not providing enough hot water. Another contact we will be reaching is the Refrigeration Foreman to learn more about the chiller plants.

    For the following meeting, I will continue my research on chiller plants and generate a list of questions about the projects to ask Kent Reifsteck, the Director of Utilities at F&S. I will also be using data on chilled water billing for each university building to figure out which buildings are in the chilled water loop. The low-flow water fixture project has been updated to involve which buildings have had them removed.


    Austin Jung

  8. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week I counted 20 bikes for sale and 19 only in need of safety checks. That should put our number in the 40+ range by the time it gets warm. Maybe higher if the weather stays in the single digits like this.

    Friday was completely dead. Not a single person in to work on their bike. I trained up staff on headset installation and test rode some bikes. We also reorganized in the back of the shop, designating areas into “For Sale” bikes and in-progress shop builds. It looks a lot cleaner and will make it easier to point people in the right direction for bikes, which will be crucial when the warm weather comes.

    This week I will be organizing a staff meeting for my team as we approach Spring Break and, after that, the potential for the first big rush of people into the shop.

    Huge thanks to the guys in the shop next door as I think they’re the ones who plowed right in front of the door to the Bike Center this morning. Usually the plows just push snow into the door but this morning when I got to work, it was cleared with a little path from the sidewalk to the door.



    Visitors: 49
    Sales:  $151.20
    Memberships: 2 for $60

    Rubber/consumables: 9 for $27.70



    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager