If your lab is in the market for a refrigerator, look for this new ENERGY STAR label

by Brianna Crandall — June 19, 2017 — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized its first-ever ENERGY STAR specification for lab-grade refrigerators and freezers. These products, typically sold to laboratories and a wide range of medical facilities, are designed to contain chemicals or biological specimens at stable, low temperatures. Expanding into this category will help reduce medical facilities’ costly energy bills and is consistent with the ENERGY STAR program’s goal of protecting the environment by advancing energy efficiency in a growing number of industries.

The first ENERGY STAR specification for lab-grade refrigerators and freezers will recognize the top energy-performing products used specifically for storing non-volatile reagents and biological specimens in laboratory settings, including hospitals, clinics, university and government research laboratories, and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. The label will appear on certified models across a range of product types and sizes, allowing customers to purchase efficient products right sized and properly controlled for their sample needs.

The specification will raise market awareness and adoption of more energy efficient products and encourage continued efficiency improvements through use of tested techniques. Significant savings are possible through the use of existing technologies. These include auto-off lighting combined with the use of LED lights; energy efficient low-E glass used in glass door refrigerators; more efficient cooling compressors; more advanced microprocessor temperature control and defrost sensors; more efficient high-capacity air circulation systems, as well as hot gas defrost solutions; and low global warming potential, energy efficient alternative refrigerant options.

To earn the ENERGY STAR label for lab-grade refrigerators and freezers or other ENERGY STAR labels, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs run by recognized certification bodies.

The Laboratory Grade Refrigerators and Freezers Specification Version 1.0 is available on the Energy Star Web site, as is a list of Certified Products.