Tuesday, March 09, 2010



University of California, Davis
March 9, 2010
Art Rosenfeld's first stab at energy efficiency did not go smoothly:
On a Friday night in the 1973 oil crisis, he tried to save electricity by turning off his office mates' lights -- but couldn't find the switches. They were hidden by bookcases, file cabinets and posters.

"After 20 minutes of uncovering light switches in 19 offices (thereby saving 100 gallons of natural gas that weekend), I decided that we should do something about conservation," he recalls.

As it turned out, Rosenfeld did everything about conservation. With the precision of a particle physicist and the practicality of a child of the Great Depression, Rosenfeld made his point to politicians, power-industry moguls, policy makers, engineers and average citizens:
"The cheapest energy is what you don't use."

Soon, instead of building new plants to make more power, Californians started designing things to use less. Refrigerators, windows, even those ubiquitous fluorescent lights -- Rosenfeld's leadership drove innovations in these and other products that made California a global example of energy efficiency.

The proof: While Californians today enjoy homes, offices and lives with far more electric appliances than we did 30 years ago, we use about the same amount of electricity per person now as we did then.

Today (March 9) UC Davis will host a full day of programs and events to recognize Arthur Rosenfeld's inestimable contributions to California's economy, environment and public health.

The day will include a public symposium on the future of energy efficiency innovation and leadership; the announcement of a planned
$1 million endowed chair in energy efficiency at UC Davis; and the establishment of a new unit of energy measurement, the Rosenfeld -- one that describes energy saved, not energy consumed. More than 50 of Rosenfeld's scientist and energy-policy peers, from 26 international institutions, proposed the new measurement in a paper published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

"I am delighted that a chair in my name will help UC Davis in perpetuity," Rosenfeld said. "UC Davis founded the nation's first university center for energy efficiency. I was honored to be part of that and to serve on its board. Most important, the campus uses its service mission and proximity to Sacramento to convene science, policy and commerce to bring efficiency to the public. "

Ben Finkelor, executive director of the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center, said, "With Art as one of our key mentors and advisers, we have made dramatic strides in our first four years." The center has:

* Pioneered a focus on collaboration with the private and public sectors in the development of promising energy efficiency technologies;
* Launched a special center for cooling efficiency that joins the campus' existing lighting technology center;
* Begun developing an energy efficiency curriculum tailored to teach future thought leaders and managers; and
* Begun designing the efficiency components for California's first net zero energy community -- UC Davis West Village, scheduled to open in 2011.

Arthur H. Rosenfeld Symposium and Reception

Starting at 10 a.m. in the UC Davis Mondavi Center, the symposium will focus on Rosenfeld's public service and the next generation of energy efficiency innovation and leadership.

Rosenfeld's public roles have included serving as science adviser for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; two five-year terms on the California Energy Commission, which leads the state's energy initiatives; serving on the board of the California Clean Energy Fund, a public benefit corporation dedicated to making equity investments in clean energy companies; and service as a founding UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center board member.

Rosenfeld also is a professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-founder and former director of the Center for Building Science at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

At the end of the symposium, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, will make the keynote address.

Volt, watt, joule -- and Rosenfeld

Also at the symposium, Rosenfeld's colleagues will announce that a new measurement to describe energy savings will be named the Rosenfeld unit. More than 50 of Rosenfeld's scientist and energy-policy peers, from 26 international institutions, proposed the new measurement in a paper published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Alan Meier, a visiting scientist at the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center, is one of the co-authors of the paper proposing the new unit.

The Rosenfeld unit is expected to be used worldwide, just as the eponymous terms volt, watt and joule are used to quantify various measurements of energy.

One Rosenfeld unit represents the energy savings needed to replace the annual generation from a single existing 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant (about the amount used annually by a U.S. city with a population of 250,000). The proposed unit correlates to energy savings of 3 billion kilowatt hours per year at the utility meter.

In addition to the electricity savings, a Rosenfeld represents 3 million metric tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions annually (assuming all the savings come from an existing coal plant).

Rosenfeld describes potential electricity savings in terms of avoided power plants, he says, because it is easier for people to visualize a power plant than it is to understand an abstraction like billions of kilowatt-hours.

"I wish I had had the Rosenfeld unit before now, as a student and scientist," said Meier. "The unit will simplify the way the world communicates the impacts of energy savings and new energy supplies.
It will lead to better understanding, and therefore better policy."

New UC Davis chair in energy efficiency

Also today, UC Davis officials will announce plans for a new endowed professorship -- the Arthur H. Rosenfeld Chair in Energy Efficiency.

The Arthur H. Rosenfeld Chair in Energy Efficiency will be used to recognize and support an exceptional member of the energy efficiency faculty at UC Davis. The chair holder will promote the Energy Efficiency Center's mission to accelerate the commercialization of energy-efficiency technologies, teach future leaders in energy efficiency, and conduct critical policy-supporting research.

Michael Siminovitch, director of the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center, said, "The Rosenfeld Chair will recognize in perpetuity Art's unmatched contributions in essentially creating the field of energy efficiency, and will bring great prestige to this area of academic study. The Rosenfeld Chair will honor and attract the very best minds to the field of energy efficiency."

Donors have pledged $700,000 to date to fund the chair endowment; the university anticipates raising a total of $1 million or more from individuals and organizations. For example, corporations giving $100,000 each include PG&E, Southern California Edison and the Sempra Foundation. Chevron and Power Integrations each have given $50,000.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said that the Rosenfeld Chair in Energy Efficiency will be a natural fit with the university's broad commitment to sustainability leadership.

"Our goal is to make this a sustainable second century for our campus while we continue our leadership in energy research and innovation, and the all-important step of commercialization," Katehi said. "Dr.
Rosenfeld's work is an inspiration to us, and serves as an example of the transformative effect that is possible when science and public policy are linked."

UC Davis sustainability initiative

Earlier this month, in her State of the Campus address, Katehi said UC Davis plans to launch a major sustainability initiative. A "green summit" is planned to bring together scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, academic researchers, elected officials, and venture capitalists from the Bay Area and Sacramento.

UC Davis efforts in this area include energy-efficient lighting in parking garages; a new brewery, winery and food science facility that will be the first LEED-certified platinum building of its kind; and the planned net-zero energy UC Davis West Village community.

Which brings this story back to the continuing impact of Arthur
Rosenfeld: At the age of 84, he is on his fourth career -- advocating for the use of reflective white roofs to combat climate change.

He has already pushed through California building codes that require white roofs on new commercial buildings. Most of the roofs in UC Davis West Village will be on residential buildings, not commercial ones. But to keep residents' energy use down, they will be white.

You could even call them Rosenfeld roofs.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world.
Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 32,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools -- Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Additional information:
* UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center
* UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center
* Environmental Research Letters paper establishing Rosenfeld unit

Media contact(s):
* Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu

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1 comment:

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