Bringing Sustainability to the Forefront of Research Laboratories

By Neill Lane, Chief Strategy Officer

Why should researchers, facility managers and lab operations care to reduce the environmental impacts and carbon footprint of their labs? Laboratories use tremendous amounts of energy because of equipment that is continuously running, the HVAC requirements needed to remove the heat generated by ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers and the need for outside airflow. Did you know that besides data centers, laboratories consume more energy per floor space than any other type of facility? If most of the electricity supplied to your facility comes from fossil fuel-based power, your lab’s electric power consumption is the primary contributor to the release of CO₂, which determines carbon footprint.  By reducing your labs carbon footprint, you will ultimately run your lab more efficiently, save on energy and operating costs, and help your organization meet their sustainability goals.

Sustainable solutions for energy intensive ULT freezers

ULT freezers are at the top of the list next to fume hoods as the most energy-intensive piece of lab equipment. ULT freezers continually operate to keep valuable samples safe at the correct temperature. These -80°C freezers emit large amounts of heat, which can affect the ambient temperature in the lab. This rejected heat must be removed by the HVAC system to keep the surrounding work or storage space from becoming unbearably hot.

Standard, cascade compressor-based ULT freezers demand large amounts of power. In contrast, consider a ULT freezer that takes an alternative approach to conventional compressor-based systems, such as free-piston Stirling engine technology. By using high efficiency ULT technology to operate, not only will you save energy, but you will also reduce HVAC infrastructure load by rejecting proportionately less heat into labs and interior spaces. By retiring your older ULT freezers and replacing them with more energy-efficient models, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption costs and associated carbon footprint.

Look at the broader sustainability picture when assessing your ULT freezers and other lab equipment. Consider a freezer that contains 100% natural refrigerants that are EPA SNAP-compliant and built with environmentally sustainable foam insulation. Look for those that are produced in a facility that follows Zero Waste International Alliance standards and policies.

Introduce forward-looking behaviors to the lab

There are many other ways that labs can reduce their environmental impacts. Educating staff and implementing constructive behavior changes to the way we work can have lasting positive effects. Some of these behaviors and technologies include:

  • Keep fume hood sashes closed when not in use
  • Turn off or apply automatic on-off control systems in autoclaves when not in use
  • Upgrade to more efficient research-grade autoclaves to cut down on/recycle water or retro-fit older systems
    with water-saving devices
  • Utilize autoclavable glassware that can be reused to cut down on single-use plastic waste
  • Switch from water baths to bead baths to heat media and reagents
  • Purchase supplies and equipment from vendors that offer sustainable products and supply chains
  • Consider equipment that has ENERGY STAR® certification or the ACT label
  • Order supplies in bulk and not individually wrapped items
  • Examine ways to recycle single-use plastics and other supplies like nitrile gloves
  • Design and post clear signage with pictures of items that should be placed in the appropriate recycle or waste
    bin to make it easy and fast
  • Consolidate orders and work with other departments to cut down on the number of deliveries
  • Share materials or equipment with colleagues or other departments to optimize resources
  • Turn off lights and other equipment that does not need to be running continuously
  • Install low-flow water aerators in sink faucets

Why not start reducing your lab’s environmental impact today?

The adoption of sustainable technologies and practices is important because, not only does it improve your lab’s carbon footprint, it can also help save operating costs. From reduced energy and water use and less waste, your organization can refocus those funds towards valuable research projects and other resources.

A sustainable lab does not mean you have to compromise or interrupt your work. You can start by having an open dialogue with your team to discover where there are opportunities for your lab to improve and brainstorm possible solutions. Once you have buy-in from your team and a formal plan put into action, the new processes will become second nature. Imagine your lab modeling sustainable practices and fueling change within your entire organization.

To learn more, read our latest article “Behavior and Technology Changes Must Be Part of Lab Sustainability Efforts” »

The Latest COVID-19 Resources and Updates

Photo Credit: James Gathany, CDC

Updated May 19, 2020

Stirling Ultracold has always felt a strong sense of pride and responsibility by helping laboratories, biorepositories, hospitals and test/research facilities further their research and bring life-saving and life-changing solutions to patients.

This has never been more of a priority than it is right now. As a High Containment Program Director at a university recently told us…

“We decided to purchase a new freezer for these COVID-19 projects so that we would be able to keep the Select Agent freezer locked up and inaccessible to the new personnel. I very much appreciate that Stirling was able to accommodate us and make it possible for a quick purchase of this new freezer.”

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we are actively monitoring the rapidly evolving needs of our health care infrastructure. The following updates and resources can help you address the urgency of this pandemic.

CDC guidelines for specimen handling

The CDC has provided guidance on specimen collection, storage and shipping. For specimens stored at 2–8°C, all laboratory testing must occur within 72 hours of collection. If a delay in processing or shipping is expected, store specimens at -70°C or below. For more information, review the CDC’s Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019.

VWR’s Virus Detection: COVID-19 research-approved equipment protocol

VWR scientists are engaged with the supplier and research communities to provide a protocol for the research use-only identification of COVID-19. This protocol closely mirrors that of the CDC-recommended protocol and, in some cases, makes use of the materials already validated by the CDC.1 For more information, please review VWR’s COVID-19 Virus Detection protocol/product list, which includes Stirling Ultracold’s SU780XLE upright ultra-low freezer.

Easing the COVID-19 testing backlog

The availability of more COVID-19 tests likely will create backlogs and delays as research organizations scramble to store more biological samples. We are ready to help those testing sites and diagnostic laboratories that must rapidly increase ultra-low temperature (ULT) storage capacity to meet surging demands. Our upright, undercounter and portable ULTs can help you increase sample capacity quickly and meet the CDC’s -70°C storage requirements, whether in the lab or at a remote, off-site testing location. Find out more about our ULT storage solutions.

Expedited delivery of our ULT freezers 

We are committed to getting you the vital supplies you need as soon as possible. Despite the disruption to many industries, our business and supply chain are still currently operating on schedule. At this time, we can expedite new orders in as quickly as one week. Although we have not been impacted by major upstream disruptions to our supply chain, the situation remains fluid; we will continue to work diligently with our suppliers to maintain factory schedules.

With our unique free-piston Stirling engine technology, our ULT freezer products are lightweight and compact relative to storage capacity, offer a flexible voltage range (including the ability to plug into 110V outlets), have the widest temperature setpoint range, and provide the flexibility for remote and rapid deployment of ULT storage. View and download our new Guide to Rapid and Remote Deployment of Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) Storage for more information.

CDC health and safety guidelines

Like many, we’ve incorporated the CDC’s health and safety guidelines into our everyday business. This includes the voluntary option to telecommute for all employees not essential to manufacturing, additional cleaning and disinfecting activities, and disinfecting all incoming freight.

 

We’re working in close collaboration with our partners to support and expedite COVID-19 testing and vaccine research. If you have any questions about the rapid or remote deployment of ULT freezer products, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-855-274-7900 or contact us here.

Source

1 https://us.vwr.com/cms/covid_19_virus_detection

The ULT25NEU with SenseAnywhere:
A Complete Solution for Clinical ULT Applications

By Jennifer Shrider, Marketing Coordinator

The Stirling Ultracold ULT25NEU is the only portable and deployable ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezer on the market for the clinical storage of temperature-sensitive drugs and treatments. Now it’s simpler than ever to ensure the viability of therapies collected at remote clinical sites with the new ULT25NEU and the SenseAnywhere wireless temperature monitoring system. This system makes it easy and affordable to monitor the temperatures of samples from any location and on any device with a browser through a secure Cloud.

The ULT25 equipped with SenseAnywhere provides a reliable cold storage solution close to the patient, while also allowing treatment providers and clinical trial managers to monitor and audit the safe storage of valuable medications and therapies from afar. This is ideal for providers of regenerative, cellular, genetic and immuno therapies who need to validate the viability of temperature-sensitive treatments at multiple remote clinical locations. With the addition of the SenseAnywhere system, you can establish and centrally maintain an audit trail of sample temperature data for a remote fleet of ULT25 freezers at hospitals, surgery centers and clinical trial sites. SenseAnywhere is FDA compliant to 21 CFR Part 11 for data integrity as well as meeting the EN 12830:2018 standard for temperature recorders for transport, storage and distribution of temperature-sensitive goods.

The key features of the SenseAnywhere system include:

• Accurate freezer temperature monitoring with a multi-point calibrated RTD probe, including ambient temperature conditions around the freezer

• Customizable instant alarms will notify you via email and/or text when limits are surpassed

• Historical and real-time 24/7 data available to track for compliance

• Secure data storage with access anytime and anywhere via a secure Cloud

SenseAnywhere’s AiroSensor model

There are many additional benefits of the SenseAnywhere system such as having no software to install (connect via an AccessPoint and site Ethernet, or cellular data), no backups required and no maintenance. It’s waterproof and the battery life is guaranteed for 10 years. Once you register online at the SenseAnywhere client portal you can manage the settings of your connected device, view graphs, set alarm profiles and schedule/download reports.

The ULT25, equipped with the SenseAnywhere system, is the complete ULT solution for clinical point-of-use storage, patient drug delivery and the remote collection of samples, all while having secure temperature monitoring throughout the process. Exceptional sample safety and data tracking have never been so effortless to maintain until now.

To learn more about the portable ULT25NEU freezer, download the brochure »

Shuttle Freezer Delivers Unique Cancer Treatment Solution

By Jennifer Shrider, Marketing Coordinator

Stirling Ultracold’s ULT-25NE Shuttle™ freezer is the only portable, deployable solution available today that can bring your ultra-low temperature (ULT) storage directly to the patient. The Shuttle freezer is ideal for clinical trials, biologic drug and immunotherapy delivery because it is small, energy-efficient and plugs into any outlet or DC power from an automobile adapter. This ULT freezer will keep injectable biologic drugs safe due to the reliability of the free-piston Stirling engine. 

Biotechnology company, Amgen Inc., has developed the first and only FDA-approved oncolytic viral therapy called IMLYGIC®, which treats melanoma skin cancer lesions that have returned after surgery. Frozen IMLYGIC® vials require a transport and storage temperature range of -90°C to -70°C. IMLYGIC® must be stored in the carton and protected from light until ready to use.

Amgen is utilizing the Shuttle freezer to store IMLYGIC® in a clinical environment. The Shuttle freezer is an ideal storage solution for clinicians, hospitals and treatment centers because it is lightweight and easily maneuverable. To view a video that explains the storage and handling of IMLYGIC®, and features the Shuttle freezer starting about 5 minutes into the program, check out the webpage link here.

Shuttle freezer in the IMLYGIC® video at 6:52

It’s inspiring to see our ultra-low freezer being used on the front lines of fighting disease and improving the lives of cancer patients every day. 

IMLYGIC® is a trademark of Biovex, Inc., a subsidiary of Amgen, Inc.

 

New “High-Density” Rack: Even More ULT Storage Capacity in the Same Space

By Jim Miller, Stirling Ultracold Chief Revenue Officer

Our 600-box SU780XLE ultra-low freezer already stores the most samples per floor space area of any comparable model. With the new “High-Density” Storage Rack solution, it can now store 100* more boxes in the same footprint! Storing up to 700* two-inch sample boxes, this optional rack solution further increases the freezer’s storage density to 81.6 boxes per sq. ft/m of floor space, which is 35-70% more ULT storage per floor space area than similarly-sized freezer models.

The High-Density Storage Rack is a perfect solution for laboratories and biorepositories with limited space who want to expand biological sample inventories without new construction. The ability to store more samples in a smaller freezer footprint not only reduces your cost per sq. ft/m, but offers the potential of replacing older ULT models with fewer freezers to reduce capital costs.

Considering that the SU780XLE is the most energy-efficient ENERGY STAR®-certified ULT freezer, this new 700-box rack furthers its efficiency per sample. In fact, the XLE uses 20-60% less energy per sample than other ENERGY STAR-certified ULT freezers (energy consumption data source: energystar.gov) in the high-density configuration. This not only enhances energy savings for all users, and potentially reduces the number of units required, but particularly benefits commercial biorepositories by improving profitability with the lowest operating cost per sample stored.

To learn more, download our new High-Density Storage Rack brochure

* To keep the vacuum release port unobstructed on the SU780XLE, it is recommended that one box be removed from the High-Density Storage Rack. This will reduce storage capacity to 699 2-inch boxes in the high-density configuration.

Stirling Ultracold Helps Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute Improve the Lives of Children

By Nicholas A. Pezzuolo, VP of Channel Development

As we expand our global market presence, it’s great when we can share how Stirling Ultracold products are making an impact in regions all over the world. One example from earlier this year is the Telethon Kids Institute in Nedlands, Western Australia which purchased and installed 23 of our SU780XLE ultra-low temperature freezers (see photo to the right) through our distributor partner Bioline Global Pty Ltd. The Institute is located within the Perth Children’s Hospital and is one of the largest research facilities in Australia. Telethon is committed to improving the lives of children through extensive research in childhood diseases, conditions, and issues. Their four main areas of focus are Aboriginal Health, Brain and Behavior, Chronic and Severe Diseases, and Early Environment.

Telethon has also pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by embracing sustainable practices for the well-being of all children in the present and future. We are proud that Telethon chose our reliable, energy-efficient freezers to help them meet their environmental goals.

Ottawa Hospital Reduces HVAC Load & Cost by Replacing ULT Freezer with SU780XLE

by Tim Root, Director of Marketing

At Stirling Ultracold, we’re always delighted to hear stories about our products helping customers save money and achieve their sustainability goals. That’s why we were pleased to see Ottawa Hospital sharing good news about how they saved energy by replacing old ULT freezers with energy-efficient models, including our SU780XLE. As recently reported in their newsletter article, Research deep freezers reduce energy consumption by 85%, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) has already saved about $20,000 in utility costs per year.

Hospital researchers have not only reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint, but were surprised by how quiet the energy-efficient models operate; in addition to how much less heat they generate.

As noted in the article by Brian Cayen, Research Information Services and Operations Manager, replacing just one of OHRI’s old ULT freezers with our SU780XLE model made an immediate impact on HVAC load and comfort in the lab . . .

“The first freezer that was replaced in one of the labs reduced heat generation and allowed us to turn off one of the two air conditioning units, and the temperature in the room still dropped by 2°C.”

With benefits for laboratory, operations and sustainability teams at OHRI, this article cites another real-world example of how Stirling ULT freezers deliver tangible advantages across the entire research organization.

 

How to Get 15-50% More ULT Sample Storage from Your Limited Floor Space

At Stirling Ultracold, we recognize that laboratories and biorepositories have a limited amount of floor space. That’s why our unique ULT freezer design delivers more storage capacity per square foot than other comparable models, giving you the most use of your floor space. With our compact Stirling engine cooling technology, less than 11% of our SU780XLE’s outer cabinet volume is needed to house its mechanical cooling system. That’s remarkably smaller than compressor deck space required in other ULT freezers, which is why you get so much more storage capacity in a smaller footprint with a Stirling freezer.

How Much More Sample Storage Do You Get Per Square Foot?
Our unique freezer design allows you to store 15-50% more 2ml vials per square foot of floor space (per freezer) when compared to other upright models of similar size.

Here’s another way to look at this . . . With the smaller footprint of our 600-box-capacity SU780XLE, you can place two additional ULT freezer units in a 50-foot row (side-by-side arrangement with recommended clearance), versus competitive models. This equates to a difference in storage capacity of 1,200-2,200 additional 2” sample boxes, or 120,000-220,000 additional sample vials within the same floor space!

Also, the Stirling Ultracold SU780XLE can be placed directly against the walls in your space, whereas competitive models require an additional 6-8 inches behind the freezer for ventilation clearance. This increases our footprint advantage even further. 

Our Stirling engine cooling technology is located at the top of our freezers, inside the green top. This places more racks within easier reach, while significantly improving system access and serviceability. In other ULT freezers, compressor-based cooling systems are located at the bottom of the freezer where service access is more limited.

With our innovative cooling system and unique design, we provide the most ULT storage capacity for your limited floor space, in addition to keeping your samples safer than they’ve ever been.

Congratulations to the 2017 Freezer Challenge Winners

Last December, we told you about the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge, a collaboration of the I2SL and My Green Lab that promotes sample integrity, accessibility, reduced costs, and energy efficiency. As one of the Presenting Sponsors of the Freezer Challenge, we would like to congratulate the winners of this friendly competition that were recently announced.

The Freezer Challenge organizational winners were:

The individual laboratory winners were:

  • The Hoekstra Lab from Harvard University
  • The Baker Lab from Lilly
  • The Jones Lab from the CDC

Even more significant than the winners named above, Freezer Challenge participants collectively saved approximately 2.7-million kWh/year (equivalent to ≈1,900 metric tons of carbon emissions) and discarded over 200,000 samples.

We’re thrilled to have been a part of the Freezer Challenge program because it shares our core values, as exemplified by our 100% sustainable product line and Zero Waste facility. We’re also looking forward to presenting the awards to these winners at the 2017 I2SL Annual Conference on October 16 in Boston, MA.

For more information on the winners, please read the announcement from the Freezer Challenge website and the recent article on Nature.com.”

 

 

 

Our Undercounter ULT Freezer: Convenient, Compliant Personal Storage

When you don’t have enough room for a full-size ULT freezer in your lab or clinical space, Stirling Ultracold offers a smaller version of our upright freezer with the same award-winning Stirling engine technology: our SU105UE (105) undercounter ULT freezer. The 105 is a personal and lockable ULT freezer that is ideal for placing under or near your bench in the lab. This stackable model uses the revolutionary free-piston Stirling engine technology found in our SU780XLE Upright Freezer, offering a highly reliable ULT storage solution with only two moving parts, no oil and no compressors. We’ve packed convenience and reliability into one ULT freezer.

Undercounter Convenience and Space Savings- The light-weight (220 lbs./99 kg) SU105UE model is the right size for positioning under your workbench or nearby, with a surprising amount of storage space. It holds 72 two-inch boxes, making the most of its compact footprint. The quiet Stirling engine puts out much less heat than compressor-based models, providing a mixture of convenience and comfort to your work space. These benefits paired with quick and easy access allow you more time to focus on your research.

Stackable Flexibility- The SU105UE is stackable with full access to samples in an over / under configuration. This is particularly useful for placing ULT storage in labs with limited floor space, and for “staging” sample temperatures. With the widest temperature range in its class, the 105 can store biological materials from -86˚C up to -20˚C. This is ideal for clinical samples and biological drugs that must be warmed to a specific temperature in stages.

 

A “Temperature Stack” Case Study –

One example of the SU105UE’s stackable flexibility can be found at a research lab in Western Pennsylvania, where the team is taking advantage of the 105’s stackability, as well as its uniquely wide temperature range. This lab is working with a biologic drug that must be transitioned from  -80˚C to room temperature in two stages. With the range of -86˚C up to -20˚C, one of the freezers in the stack is used for the intermediate stage of the transition. Placing 105s in a stack offers a unique level of convenience and space-savings in this situation, with the flexibility to use the same freezer model at dissimilar temperatures ranges. This research team has seen improved efficiency and accuracy in the transition of these biologic materials to room temperature, while conserving precious floor space in their lab.

Secure Personalized Storage – The SU105UE model is the perfect size for personalized ULT storage. It gives you the freedom and control to organize your samples in a way that makes the most sense to you and your research. The 105 is also lockable to keep samples secure. Having a smaller lockable chamber is ideal for clinical use, where HIPAA patient privacy and access compliance standards are involved.

All the Advantages of Stirling Engine Technology – Like all of Stirling Ultracold freezers, the SU105UE can plug into any outlet worldwide, including 120V – 240V 50/60 hz. Consuming less than 4 kWh/day at -80°C, it saves energy and is environmentally friendly with 100% natural refrigerants. Because the 105’s advanced Stirling engine cooling system is inherently reliable, it comes with an industry-leading warranty that includes 7 years engine protection, with 2 years and labor cover parts coverage in the U.S. and Canada.

The SU105UE provides the perfect blend of safety, security and flexibility for your lab which will allow you to be more productive than ever.