The origins and use of "the Rosenfeld" unit of energy efficiency

June 14, 2013 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm

In 2010, more than fifty of Art Rosenfeld's friends and colleagues teamed up to propose a new unit of energy efficiency:  the Rosenfeld.  Its purpose was to allow quick, intuitive, and physically meaningful comparisons between energy efficiency savings and power plants avoided.  

The Rosenfeld is a unit of of electrical power, equivalent to that delivered to end-users by a 500 MW coal plant operating at a capacity factor of 70%, or 3 billion kWh per year.  Assuming the carbon intensity of an average coal plant, that avoided generation equates to 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.  This talk will describe how this useful heuristic came about, and summarize the benefits and potential pitfalls of using it to characterize energy savings estimates.  

Reference:  Koomey, Jonathan, Hashem Akbari, Carl Blumstein, Marilyn Brown, Richard Brown, Chris Calwell, Sheryl Carter, Ralph Cavanagh, Audrey Chang, David Claridge, Paul Craig, Rick Diamond, Joseph H. Eto, William Fulkerson, Ashok Gadgil, Howard Geller, José Goldemberg, Chuck Goldman, David B. Goldstein, Steve Greenberg, David Hafemeister, Jeff Harris, Hal Harvey, Eric Heitz, Eric Hirst, Holmes Hummel, Dan Kammen, Henry Kelly, Skip Laitner, Mark Levine, Amory Lovins, Gil Masters, James E. McMahon, Alan Meier, Michael Messenger, John Millhone, Evan Mills, Steve Nadel, Bruce Nordman, Lynn Price, Joe Romm, Marc Ross, Michael Rufo, Jayant Sathaye, Lee Schipper, Stephen H. Schneider, James L. Sweeney, Malcolm Verdict, Diana Vorsatz, Devra Wang, Carl Weinberg, Richard Wilk, John Wilson, and Ernst Worrell. 2010. "Defining a standard metric for electricity savings."  Environmental Research Letters.  vol. 5  014017, no. 1 January-March. []


A recording of this seminar is available at:

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