Ode to Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Doctor Efficiency


Arthur H. Rosenfeld was born in 1927. He earned a PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1954 and then spent almost 20 years with the Nobel Prize-winning particle physics group of Luis Alvarez at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 1974, In great part because of the oil crisis, he changed to a different field: The efficient use of energy! He formed the Center for Building Science at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and led it until 1994, and for that we owe him a great many "thanks" as treehuggers. The Center developed "electronic ballasts for fluorescent lamps (which led to compact fluorescent lamps), low-emissivity windows, and the DOE-2 computer program for the energy analysis and design of buildings, for which Dr. Rosenfeld was personally responsible", and many more green innovations including more efficient electric motors and refrigerators.

The U.S. National Research Council (NRC) has estimated that energy efficiency improvements developed solely at DOE's National Laboratories, saved the U.S. $30 billion between 1978 and 2000, with electronic ballasts contributing $15 billion and low-emissivity windows contributing $8 billion, a combined three-fourths of the total savings. The NRC also acknowledged the contributions of DOE-2, then used in an estimated 15 percent of all commercial construction in the U.S., which has yielded average energy savings of 22 percent compared to designs made without this program.

Rosenfeld himself says that the savings produced by his lab since its inception add up to about $800 billion, but dollar figures don't matter quite as much as the green effects of the technology.


From 1994 to 1999, Rosenfeld was senior advisor to DOE's Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Since joining the California Energy Commission in 2000, Rosenfeld has been implementing the demand-side technology and incentives he advocated for the previous 30 years. For example, working with the California Public Utilities Commission, he has instituted time-dependent prices for electricity, that is, prices which are lower most of the time but higher at peak times, and "smart meters" to record electric use hour-by-hour. Rosenfeld has also championed utilities' funding and creative use of rebates to encourage purchase of efficient products.

For his work, doctor Rosenfeld is being awarded the Fermi Award, a very prestigious scientific prize created in 1956. Here's his citation: "For a lifetime of achievement ranging from pioneering scientific discoveries in experimental nuclear and particle physics to innovations in science, technology, and public policy for energy conservation that continue to benefit humanity." Dr. Rosenfeld has also won the Szilard Award for Physics in the Public Interest in 1986 and the Carnot Award for Energy Efficiency from the U.S. Department of Energy in 1993.

::President Bush Names Arthur Rosenfeld the 2005 Enrico Fermi Award Winner, ::Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Ph.D. - Biography, ::Fermi Award - Arthur H. Rosenfeld, 2005, ::Physicist Takes Energy Efficiency From Theory to Practice, via ::Eighty Year Old Saved Us $800 Billion