As part of an Eversource energy conservation program, 50 new energy-efficient minus 80-degree Celsius Stirling freezers became available at no cost to MGH researchers in December 2018. A drawing was announced by Harry Orf, PhD, senior vice president for Research, to determine which researchers – after meeting a few simple criteria – would be able to exchange their old freezers for an upgrade. Entries poured in, and a total of nearly 400 researchers responded in hopes of receiving a more energy-efficient, cost-saving subzero freezer.

“We have almost 700 minus 80-degree freezers that are used throughout the MGH Research community, and that adds up to using quite a bit of energy,” Orf says. “The new technology in these freezers makes them ultra-efficient, using only 24 percent of the energy of our older models.”

The MGH Facilities Engineering Department was already looking into ways to switch out the old freezers when they became aware that Eversource was giving away 100 units, says Orf. The MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital decided to share the 100 through the random number drawing. Once the freezer swap was completed in March, the old freezers – if still in working order – were sent to be reused or for metal reclamation.

“We still have hundreds of old freezers to swap out, so our next task is to come up with an incentive program to switch them,” Orf says. “At the MGH, we are always looking for ways to promote energy-efficiency, and this is simply one of those ways.”

Read more articles from the 05/31/19 Hotline issue.