ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense® certified products are required across all applicable product categories where price comparable (based on a total cost of ownership assessment) and consistent with the needs of University researchers, faculty, and staff.

To find compliant ENERGY STAR® certified products, search here.

To see a list of ENERGY STAR® cold storage options available through UC contracted suppliers, click here. Simply copy and paste the part number into the respective Gateway punchout to find pricing and product details.

Looking to purchase a replacement unit for your lab that saves energy, water, and money? Replacement ULT freezers that are Energy Star rated are eligible for a $4,000 rebate, and all other replacement Energy Star or Water Sense certified equipment is eligible for up to $1,000.

Apply for a rebate through The Green Initiative Fund by visiting this website:

Key Questions to Consider:

Is the lab likely to follow a scheduled maintenance procedure (yearly defrosting, cleaning exterior coils, etc.)? – If yes, manual defrost freezers are generally more efficient than automatic. If no, automatic defrost freezers will be better than a frosted-over freezer.

If purchasing a small freezer, can the lab share with another group? – Smaller ULT freezers consume more energy per sample than larger ones. If sharing a larger freezer with another group is possible, it will maximize efficiency.

Would the lab consider running their freezer at -70°C instead of -80 or -86°C? – Many normal samples in ULT freezers can be safely stored at -70°C, but all samples are different. Scott Hodges and Craig Montell will be starting a -70°C trial during summer 2017.

Summary of Desired Energy Efficiency Features/Practices:

  • Manual defrost (if following a cleaning/defrosting maintenance procedure)
  • Automatic defrost (if no cleaning/defrosting will be performed)
  • Maximized space usage in a large freezer (if possible)
  • Maintained temperature at -70°C

ULT Freezer Purchase History at UCSB, 2013-2016:


Base Cost ($)



Electricity cost/year ($0.105/kWh)

Lifetime cost ($)

Eppendorf U570


15 yrs




Fisher IsoTemp IU1786


15 yrs




So-Low ULT U85-22


15 yrs




Thermo TSU 600BX


15 yrs




Thermo TSU 400BX


15 yrs




Revco EXF 600BX


15 yrs




Average lifetime cost of ULT freezers purchased between 2013 - 2016


Table 1: Models listed have volumes around 20 ft3, similar to standard upright ULTs. Repeat purchases are not included.

Energy Efficient ULT Freezer Models:


Base Cost ($)



Electricity cost/year ($0.105/kWh)

Lifetime cost ($)

Thermo TSX 600D


15 yrs




Stirling Ultracold


15 yrs




Average lifetime cost of energy-efficient ULT freezers



Freezers marketed as having “reduced toxin levels” are no different from other freezers, as they are all legally required to be manufactured using the same low-impact chemicals.


Drosophila Incubators - Selecting Energy Efficient Models

Key Questions to Consider:

Is the incubator 115v (has a regular 3-prong plug)? – Even very large, three-door incubators are now sold as 115v. This can reduce energy usage by almost half in all models.

For large, stand-up freezer size (~20 ft3):

Does it run using thermoelectric (Peltier) cooling? – Thermoelectric cooling is used by several brands (Thermo, Darwin Chambers) and is significantly less energy-intensive than regular compressor technology for large incubators.

For small, bench-top size:

Can these samples be moved to a larger incubator instead? – Smaller incubators and freezers use more energy per volume than larger ones.

Does it use regular compressor technology? – Compressor technology is more efficient than thermoelectric at this size.

Summary of Desired Energy Efficiency Features:

  • 115v
  • Thermoelectric cooling (for large units)
  • Compressor technology (when small unit is absolutely required)

Energy Efficient Models:

Darwin Chambers IN034:

One-door thermoelectric incubator with humidity, temp, lighting control. 115v, 4.5A. 4,500 kWh/year if run 24/7 for 365 days. Other larger models available.

Thermo Fisher Peltier Incubators:

Upright, freezer-size incubators. 115v, 3A. 3,000 kWh/year. Manufacturer reported data.

Key Questions to Consider:

Is the BSC ducted or exhaust-to-room? – Ducted models (B1/B2) typically consume twice the energy of unducted models (A2). Our campus has very few B1/B2 models, almost all A2s.[1]

Does the BSC use DC motors? – DC Motors use up to 80% less energy than AC Motors.[2] Users will also enjoy decreased vibration and noise level.

Can users easily turn off the BSC’s fluorescent lights at night? – BSC lights should not be left on when the cabinet is not in use. Consider using adding an occupancy sensor.

Does the BSC offer a UV light timer (or is UV left on overnight)? – General consensus according to several peer-reviewed publications is the UV is not a very valuable feature to begin with. Chemical wipe-downs provide much more reliable decontamination without the safety risk.[3][4][5]

Does the BSC offer reduced motor speed when the sash is closed? – Most users in Bio II turn off blower entirely when not in use[6], but for lunchtimes and short breaks, reduced motor speed with a closed sash will provide measurable savings. If the cabinet is going to be left on 24/7 for some requirement of the research, this becomes an even more important feature.

Summary of Desired Energy Efficiency Features:

  • Unducted (A2)
  • DC Motor
  • Occupancy sensor
  • No UV
  • Reduced motor speed functionality to be used with closed sash

BSC Real-Time Power Data

BSC Real-Time Power Data

Figure 1: 30 days of use for 6 selected BSCs in Bio II building, Winter 2017.

Figure 1 shows data collected using the IBIS Networks metering system installed in UCSB’s Bio II building. Four manufacturers are displayed. The two key features are the peak power when the unit is on, and any background power usage when the unit is off. This data is by no means comprehensive, but can provide some guidelines for further research.

The three SteriGARD units displayed are in the same laboratory, but there are at least two different models represented, and we see variation in consumption from all three shown units, one of which shows increased background power consumption. If purchasing SteriGARD, examine model features carefully to select for energy efficiency.

Three Labconco units were metered, all from the same laboratory. All of them showed similar power consumption trends, so only one is displayed. Typical power when on is ~370-390 W.

Two Nuaire units were metered, both in the same lab, and had comparable behavior so only one is displayed. Typical peak power is ~920-980 W.

Only 1 Forma Sci unit provided data. Peak power is 1050 W.


[1] Ducted models are about equivalent in energy to an unducted BSC plus a ducted fumehood. A ducted fumehood can use the energy equivalent of 3 US homes. Mills and Sartor, “Energy Use and Savings Potential for Laboratory Fume Hoods.” Energy 30 (2005) 1859-1864

[2] Webber, B. A. (2008 September) University of Michigan field study of Class II biological safety cabinet energy consumption costs. American Biotechnology Laboratory; 2005; 26(9):22- 24

[3] Burgener, J. (2006) Position Paper on the Use of Ultraviolet Lights in Biological Safety Cabinets. Applied Biosafety 11(4) pp. 228-230.

[4]Meechan, P.J., and Wilson, C. (2006) Use of Ultraviolet Lights in Biological Safety Cabinets: A Contrarian View. Applied Biosafety 11(4) pp. 222-227.

[5] Turnbull, P.C.B, Reeys, A.E., Chute, M.D., and Mateczun A.J. (2008) Effectiveness of UV Exposure of Items Contaminated with Anthrax Spores in a Class 2 Biosafety Cabinet and a Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory Pass-Box. Applied Biosafety 13(3) pp. 164-168.

[6] See data on following page.

Look for equipment, consumables, and reagents that have the ACT Label! Encourage manufacturers to use the ACT Label, and check back regularly for new products using the label: