Berkeley Laboratory and Energy Efficiency

Whether you know it or not, the chances are that you've encountered energy-efficient technology developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and its commercial partners.

Windows

If you live in a recently built new home, it probably has double-paned energy-efficient windows with low-E (low-emissivity) coatings. These windows were developed by Berkeley Lab and its window industry partners in the 1980s. Windows with these low-E coatings now represent more than half of all windows sold each year, and most new homes have them. More >>

Lighting

If you've been in a commercial or industrial building with energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, chances are those lights are using a component called electronic ballasts. Berkeley Lab developed these in the 1970s in partnership with the lighting industry—and tested them in the office headquarters of Pacific Gas and Electric, northern California's power utility. More >>

Computer Software

Berkeley Lab developed, starting in the 1970s, the first major computer simulation program to help architects and engineers design more energy-efficient buildings. This program came to be called DOE-2, since it was developed for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and it is widely used. A newer, more advanced program developed by Berkeley Lab and its research partners, called EnergyPlus, is now gaining acceptance in the building design community. More >>

It's not known how many buildings have been designed or retrofitted for increased energy efficiency based on DOE-2, but it has probably been applied to millions of square feet of building space in the U.S. during the last 30 years. Here is a list of a few prominent ones. You may have visited some of them. More >> (Scroll down to the middle of the page.)

In the 1990s, Berkeley Lab developed a Web-based software program for the general public called Home Energy Saver. It is based on DOE-2 and an easy-to-use interface to guide you through a series of easy steps to get an energy audit of your own house or apartment, with recommendations on how to save money on your energy bill through energy efficiency. More >>

Other Technology

Since those early days, Berkeley lab has continued to develop new energy-efficient technology and to work with commercial partners to bring it to the marketplace, and into your homes and workplaces. Here is a link describing some of the major technologies we have developed. More >>

Energy Efficiency Codes, Standards, and Labels

Berkeley Lab scientists have been involved since the 1970s in scientific and technical analysis for energy efficient appliance standards, building codes, appliance efficiency labeling, and voluntary standards. Everyone in the United States has been touched by this work in some way. Our technical and economic analysis has helped inform:

  1. national appliance energy efficiency standards mandated by Congress and established by the U.S. Department of Energy;
  2. California's Title 24 energy efficiency building code;
  3. the ENERGY STAR program;
  4. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings for buildings; and
  5. voluntary standards established by ASHRAE (the Association for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers), ASTM, and other technical standards setting groups.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a Department of Energy-funded National Laboratory operated by the University of California. It conducts basic, unclassified scientific research in all areas of science and applied research in the areas of energy and the environment. Its results are published in the open scientific literature, providing objective, neutral knowledge to inform the scientific community, the private sector, the marketplace, policy-makers, and other interested parties.

Who "does" efficiency? >>