ULT Freezer Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

An older model, conventional technology ULT freezer.

Laboratory grade ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers operate at around -80℃, and conventional models can use as much energy as a house. Over the past few years, freezer manufacturers have developed new technologies that can reduce energy consumption by more than 75 percent without sacrificing performance or reliability.

Because high-efficiency freezers still have a higher price tag than conventional freezers, this program provides financial incentives for researchers to replace aging, inefficient freezers with high-efficiency models.

Program Status

After another successful year of the rebate program we are now accepting new candidates for FY24. To find out how to qualify follow the information and links below.


Eligibility is limited to NC State academic departments and NC State-affiliated researchers with laboratories on NC State Main, Centennial, and Centennial Biomedical Campuses.

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Rebate Amounts

Larger freezers (>600L capacity) are rebated at a higher amount because they consume more energy than smaller freezers. Freezers that consume less than 0.30 kWh/day/cu-ft are also rebated at a higher amount.

 Any freezer on the EnergyStar list consuming <0.30 kWh/day/cu-ftAny freezer on the EnergyStar list consuming 0.30-0.40 kWh/day/cu-ftVerified Disposal Of Old Freezer
>600 Liters capacity (21.2 cu ft)$3,500$2,500$1,000
<600 Liters capacity (21.2 cu ft)$1,750$1,250$500

Qualifying Freezers

To qualify for rebate, the ULT freezer purchased must be listed on the Energy Star Product Finder Lab Grade Refrigerators and Freezers webpage as a model consuming less than 0.4 kWh/day/cu-ft. (Since the EnergyStar database is updated frequently, we will no longer be listing the qualifying freezer models on this page.)

Verified Disposal

To motivate disposal of old freezers (rather than continuing to operate them in addition to the new one), Energy Management offers an additional incentive ($500 or $1,000 depending on freezer size) for the verified disposal of an existing freezer. This incentive is limited to one per new freezer. Whether the property is “traded in” with the vendor of the new freezer, or it is sent to NC State Materials Management as surplus property, the university’s procedures for trade-in (Transfer, Trade-in, or Sale of University Assets) and surplus (Surplus Property Services) must be followed. Provide paperwork verifying the disposal of the freezer as part of your rebate application. This should be either the Approved Trade-In Disposal Number or the Surplus Request.

Note: Simply transferring the freezer to another entity on campus does not qualify for the disposal rebate. The objective of the disposal rebate is to remove the old equipment from campus.

How To Participate

The program works as a multi-step process.

  1. First, fill out a Pre-Application Form. You must submit a separate Pre-Application Form for every freezer purchase. Energy Management reviews this to ensure that the participant is planning to purchase a qualifying freezer and that there are remaining funds in the incentive program. Once approved, you will receive an email from Energy Management that contains a Unique Rebate ID. Once you have this, you may move to step 2.
  2. Purchase the qualifying freezer and pay for it in full. Make sure when submitting the purchase order that you are charging the purchase to an “equipment code”. That will help ensure that it receives an asset tag.
  3. Dispose of the old freezer, if applicable, and save paperwork related to the freezer’s disposal.
  4. Capital Asset Management (CAMS) will contact your Departmental CAMS Coordinator to tag equipment purchases (charges on 55310 accounts) within 4 – 6 weeks of payment. If the freezer qualifies as a piece of equipment (greater than or equal to $5,000) an asset id and tag number is assigned to the freezer and it becomes part of the department’s equipment inventory. If contact has not been made within this timeframe, please consult your Departmental CAMS Coordinator. Once you have the asset tag number, you may move to step 5.
  5. Fill out the Final Application Form. If you are retiring an old freezer, also send an email with the verification of proper disposal paperwork to save_energy@ncsu.edu.
  6. Optional: please send us a brief testimonial about how you use a ULT freezer and a picture of your lab personnel posing with your new freezer to save_energy@ncsu.edu! By doing this you are granting us permission to post it on this website to build interest in the program.

If you have any further questions about the program or the process to participate, please email save_energy@ncsu.edu.

Success Stories

“We purchased a Stirling high-efficiency ULT freezer when setting up our new laboratory because of its reduced energy use, lower environmental impact, and improved temperature maintenance compared to older models. We currently use the freezer to preserve important laboratory samples, including RNA extracts for studying fungal and plant gene expression. The rebate program convinced us to purchase the new freezer sooner than we might have otherwise. Additionally, the freezer is quiet, making for a pleasant lab companion! So far, we are very satisfied with the new freezer.”
Dr. Briana K. Whitaker
Plant and Microbial Biology

“We purchased a high-efficiency ULT freezer when setting up my new laboratory because of the environmental impact of the low-efficiency models. We use the freezer to preserve precious samples from field expeditions, as well as our bacterial stock cultures. The freezer provides us with the added benefit that the freezer has a 7-year warranty because of the low failure rate of the different cooling system technology. The enthusiastic response from NC State Energy Management when I inquired about potential rebates for high energy efficiency freezers ultimately convinced me to not shy away from the high extra expense”
Dr. Manuel Kleiner
Plant and Microbial Biology

“We purchased a high-efficiency ULT freezer during the set up of the laboratory because of the environmental impact and because of the rebates for high energy efficiency freezers promoted by NC State Energy Management. Our freezer is working really well, and it doesn’t emit noise. Shelves are flexible and we can store any type of sample. Additionally, we really like the ‘futuristic design.'”
Dr. Elisa Crisci
College of Veterinary Medicine

“The Ohata Lab purchased a Stirling high-efficiency ULT freezer in 2020 as we considered its reduced energy consumption feature important. Our research relies heavily on proteins, which requires a dependable freezer for longer storage of stock solutions and samples. Currently, the Stirling freezer plays a big role in our protein purification processes. We are frequently opening and closing the freezer to access and store our samples and stock solutions. The high-efficiency model ensures that we can access our temperature-sensitive supplies without worrying about the freezer’s environmental impact. As our lab continues to grow and expand our projects, the Stirling high-efficiency ULT freezer will become even more of an integral tool in our research.”
Dr. Jun Ohata
Department of Chemistry

Top Photo Credit: Nick Smith / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain