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Case Studies

Cold Storage Policy

In attempt to better understand cold storage costs at King's and spread good practice, a set of surveys were conducted followed by the implementation of a cold storage policy.The goal of this work was to ensure the cold storage equipment selected was as efficient as possible, and also maintained and run in a similarly efficient manner.

Prior to introducing the policy most of King's research spaces were surveyed for fridges and freezers though not cold rooms or liquid nitrogen storage. Coupled with survey figures previously obtained, overall cold storage costs were estimated in non-embedded spaces (embedded being run by NHS). Results may be found below, and were presented to senior estates management at King's. The overall costs for cold storage are likely much higher when NHS run spaces and walk-in cold rooms are factored in. Note the significant costs in ‘added costs’, which is a combination of estimated costs of supplemental cooling, maintenance, alarming, and carbon tax. This does not include procurement or possible disposal costs.

 

Total

Energy (millions of kWh)

CO2e (tonnes)

Space (m^2)

Added Costs (£)

Energy Costs (£)

Total Costs (£)

Denmark Hill

615

 

1.22

603

352

56,773

134,300

191,000

KCL ULT Freezers

215

1.27

628

316

71,240

140,000

211,000

KCL Lab Fridges/-20C freezers

1640

1.86

920.7

596

65,100

204,905

270,000

Total

1855

3.13

1589

912

136,400

344,700

481,000

With such high costs, a policy surrounding cold storage in research makes sense to try to reduce the impact of equipment. Kings College London is proud to have introduced its first Cold Storage Management Policy which is publically available here: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/governancezone/Estates/Cold-Storage-Management-SOP.aspx

The policy takes aim at procurement of efficient and reliable equipment as well as ensuring it is maintained in a manner that ensures maximum endurance. Also novel recommendations such as assessing non-ULT running temperatures are included as well as easy tips for improved efficiency (cleaning filters, defrosting seals). Currently being disseminated and implemented across KCL research spaces and will hopefully act as a guide for further institutions. It is recognised that a policy is not an outright solution to suboptimal management, but it is a clear step in the right direction. While cold storage requirements are constantly growing, ensuring they’re well managed can not only reduce running costs but also improve resilience and safety of samples and the equipment itself. 

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