History of Past Freezer Challenges

Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, University of Colorado Boulder
Lauren Dufort, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Allen Doyle, University of California Davis

We will explain how the Freezer Challenge started and the impact that successful challenges have had in university, federal, and private sector labs. The success of these initial challenges and a growing interest in energy conservation in labs led to the 2017 North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge being launched at I2SL conference this year.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the benefits of a freezer challenge
  • Learn about the various types of actions covered by a freezer challenge
  • Hear about the impact that successful challenges have had in university, federal and private labs
  • Understand why now is the right time to launch a North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge


Kathy manages the CU Green Labs Program at the Univ. of Colorado-Boulder. She has 15 years of lab research experience where she recognized the need for a program to engage scientists in conservation. Through participation in I2SL, Green Labs Planning Group, & the DOE Better Buildings Alliance, she regularly collaborates & shares ideas with colleagues at universities & federal agencies. She chairs the I2SL University Alliance Group presently focused on connecting sustainability to lab finances.

Lauren Dufort is a Sustainability Specialist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Safety, Security and Asset Management. In her role, Lauren advises CDC personnel and leadership on initiatives and reporting to meet the Federal sustainability mandates of the Obama administration. Agency goals include water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction as well as waste diversion and sustainable procurement across CDC's 17 campuses nationwide.

Prior to starting at CDC, Lauren was the Director of Sustainability at Central Atlanta Progress where she worked on outreach and education, utility data collection and analysis, progress reporting and identification of best practices in water and energy efficiency. She served as program director for Atlanta's participation in the Better Buildings Challenge (BBC), a program of the US Department of Energy, which was initiated in 2011 with the goal to save water and energy consumption in existing buildings by 20% by the year 2020.

Lauren has worked in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Commute Options, and she also served on the Atlanta Recycles strategic planning committee, which was formed to identify best practices in waste management among City of Atlanta stakeholders.

After 20 years of ocean chemistry, soil, and permafrost research, the urgency of climate disruption and environmental degradation compelled Allen Doyle to leave the lab and work with scientists on conservation in their workplace. Mr. Doyle brings an occupant focus to laboratory energy conservation, as he is co-founder of LabRATS, developing a ten-module green laboratory program, a moderator of the Labs21 Energy-Efficient Laboratory Equipment Wiki, organizer of 100+ member national network, working to reduce plug load through cold storage management and the Freezer Challenge contest, and engaged in HVAC optimization through temperature relaxation and control banding. As sustainability manager, he interacts at all levels of campus and hopes that research laboratories and their stakeholders will reach ambitious standards of quality with dramatic improvements in resource consumption. He collaborates campuses across the country, federal agencies as U.S. Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and private sector laboratories, and he serves on two steering committees in I2SL. An avid trail runner, his meditation comes in the form of a rapid descent down a mountain.


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