The federal government spends billions of dollars on energy and uses more energy than any other entity in the U.S. In fiscal year 1995, the federal government spent $8 billion on a net energy consumption of 1.15 quadrillion BTUs. While that may be a lot of energy in absolute terms, the numbers have been improving for years. Compared with fiscal year 1985, the 1995 energy-use figure ios down by 22.5% and the costs are down $2.5 billion.
We recently undertook a survey and critical review of the published literature on indoor air quality, ventilation, and IAQ- and building-related health problems in schools, particularly those in the state of California. The survey's objectives included identifying the most commonly reported building-related health symptoms involving schools, and assembling and evaluating existing measurement data on key indoor air pollutants most likely to be related to these symptoms. The review also summarizes existing measurements of ventilation rates in schools and information on the causes of IAQ and health problems in schools.
Two cost-effective approaches to reducing energy use in buildings are minimum energy standards for appliances and incorporating energy-efficiency principles in building codes. More than two dozen nations already have adopted, will soon adopt, or are considering the adoption of energy-efficiency standards and codes. The Environmental Energy Technologies Division has pooled its resources in the field of energy-efficiency standards with its international activities to create the International Building and Appliance Standards team. The IBAS team convenes regularly to discuss progress in existing international standards activities as well as to identify possible new Berkeley Lab opportunities to support efficiency standards the world over.
EnergyPlus is a new Department of Energy-supported project that will merge two major building energy simulation programs, DOE-2 and Building Loads Analysis and System Thermodynamics (BLAST). Development of both software tools began in the 1970s, when the U.S. Department of Defense began funding the software that became BLAST and the Department of Energy began funding the DOE-2 program. At the time, it was not clear which effort, if either, would produce a usable building energy analysis program. Each has hundreds of subroutines designed to solve specific building-design problems, and each has been used successfully by building designers. The goal of EnergyPlus is to take the best features of DOE-2 and BLAST and unite them in a single program. EnergyPlus will also offer new analysis tools for building technologies that are too new to have been incorporated in the older software. The table below shows which elements of BLAST and DOE-2 will be present in EnergyPlus.
The study concludes: "A vigorous national commitment to develop and deploy energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies has the potential to restrain the growth of U.S. energy in U.S. energy consumption and carbon emissions such that levels in 2010 are close to those in 1997 for energy and 1990 for carbon." Five national laboratories worked together to produce the study, titled "Scenarios of U.S. Carbon Reductions: Potential Impacts of Energy Technologies by 2010 and Beyond." The effort was led by Mark Levine, Director of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, and Oak Ridge National Lab's Marilyn Brown.
A surprisingly large number of appliances-from computer peripherals to cable TV boxes to radios-consume electricity even after they have been switched off. The energy used while the appliance is switched off or not performing its primary purpose is called "standby consumption" or leaking electricity. Nationwide, leaking electricity requires the operation of eight large power plants that emit roughly 12 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
The U.S. Department of Energy and key players in the U.S. windows industry have formed the Efficient Window Collaborative, whose goal is doubling the marketshare of efficient windows by 2005. The Center's Windows and Daylighting Department, and the Alliance to Save Energy are managing this effort jointly.
Most of California's commercial buildings have thermal distribution systems. An estimated 63% of these are air-based and distribute air through ducts. Thermal distribution ductwork systems in small commercial buildings are similar to those in residential construction, and have the same leakage and conduction-loss problems.
Home Energy Saver is the first Internet-based tool for calculating energy use in residential buildings. It computes a home's energy use on-line based on methods developed by Center for Building Science researchers. By changing one or more features of the modeled home to improve energy-efficiency, users can estimate how much energy and money they can save. Links lead the user to hundreds of other Web sites that provide detailed information on energy-efficient products, home builders, residential utility programs, government programs, practical newsletters, energy software, and other useful topics.
Center researchers are helping ensure that energy efficiency, renewable energy and a host of other important issues are not overlooked as California and the nation restructure the electric power industry. The UPP staff is analyzing the potential impact of restructuring on efficiency and renewables, modeling a variety of potential restructuring policies, and assisting federal customers seeking to better understand emerging electricity markets. UPP Group Leader Chuck Goldman is participating in discussions on how to distribute surcharge funds set aside for energy efficiency in California, and Acting EAP Head Stephen Wiel is assisting state lawmakers and regulators by overseeing the National Council on Competition and the Electric Industry.
THERM 1.0 is a computer program that generates a two-dimensional model of heat flow. The thermal property information provided by THERM is important for the design and application of building components such as windows, walls, foundations, roofs and doors.
Phase change materials are a potential source of thermal mass in residential construction. Researchers at the Center have used RADCOOL, a thermal building simulation program based on the finite difference approach, to perform a numerical evaluation of the latent storage performance of PCM- treated wallboard.
Recent analyses suggest that improving buildings and indoor environments could potentially cause a $30 to $150 billion annual productivity gain in the United States. This estimated improvement is a consequence of reduced health care costs and sick leave and increased worker performance.
Center researchers have analyzed the patterns of emissions from end uses of energy and electricity production in ten OECD countries. Emissions in many countries in the early 1990s were lower than those in the 1970s in an absolute sense and on a per capita basis. However, factors which reduced emissions in the past are not having the same effect in the mid-1990s.
Software programs for designing energy-efficient buildings and subsystems have a problem: their inability to easily exchange data. A new organization, the International Association of Interoperability, is working to create an interoperable environment for building software tools.
Researchers at the Center's Indoor Environment Department began investigating indoor air quality in new energy-efficient houses several years ago. Measurements at five houses in the eastern U.S. reveal the presence of persistently elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and odors, the causes of which are under investigation.
The Center's Lighting Research Group has developed the first high-efficiency lighting fixtures that capitalize on the extraordinary brightness and remarkable energy efficiency of the award-winning sulfur lamp. Through a partnership between Berkeley Lab and Cooper Lighting, a major U.S. lighting manufacturer, prototypes of these new fixtures have been installed at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
The In-House Energy Management Department at the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has worked since 1985 to save energy at the Lab's facilities by applying advanced technology and management practices. Their efforts have led to an annual savings of $2.3 million dollars for Berkeley Lab.
The China Energy Group has worked closely with energy policymakers in China for nearly a decade. Its goal is to better understand the dynamics of energy use in China and to develop and enhance the capabilities of institutions that promote energy efficiency in that country. Collaborative efforts with the Chinese are central to most of the group's efforts, focusing on data collection, energy policy evaluation, industrial and building energy use analysis and energy demand analysis.
Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review has given a Hammer Award to a team of private and public entities including several Center researchers. The team is working to turn San Francisco's Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Avenue into a showcase of energy-efficient technologies with the potential to cut a billion dollars from the federal government's annual energy bill.
Indoor Environment Department researchers have used existing databases to estimate the energy and indoor air quality liabilities associated with residential ventilation in the U.S. housing stock, and how scenarios of energy conservation and ventilation strategies change those liabilities. Their results indicate that bringing ventilation levels up to ASHRAE standards could save 38 exajoules of energy and $2.4 billion.
Energy use in residential buildings in the U.S. is significant-about 20% of primary energy use. While several approaches reduce energy use such as appliance standards and utility programs, enforcing state building energy codes is one of the most promising. Research on the rate of compliance within the building community found substantial variation from house to house and region to region in code compliance.
The world's 1.4 trillion-dollar insurance industry is increasingly concerned about financial risks from natural disasters precipitated by global climate change: windstorms, hailstorms, mudslides, wildfires, flooding, urban heat waves, public health problems and agricultural damage. Energy consumption is the largest contributor to global climate change, so promoting energy efficiency is a promising strategy for the insurance industry. Many energy-efficient technologies also have the potential to reduce ordinary insured losses involving property, health or liability.
Radon is the number two cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. For several years, researchers in the High-Radon Project at the Center's Indoor Environment Department have been developing a statistical methodology for estimating regional indoor radon concentrations across the United States. The purpose of this work is to help state or other agencies to identify high-radon counties or areas more precisely so that these authorities can focus their indoor monitoring and control efforts more effectively.
Last year's Chicago heat wave increased the number of deaths in Cook County by more than 700 over five days. Epidemiological studies of heat wave deaths have contributed useful information on the reasons for the the deaths, but the role of the building and its interior conditions has been largely unexamined. A new study by a Energy Analysis Department researcher Joe Huang examines building conditions during the heat wave and shows how energy efficiency measures could have made the buildings safer.
There has been a significant increase in sales of imported torchiere systems in the American market, resulting in a large increase in residential lighting energy use and a significant challenge to energy efficiency programs throughout the country. At the Center's Lighting Lab, researchers have developed a series of novel energy-efficient torchiere systems using compact fluorescent lamps, that save energy and improve fire safety.
When an automobile's emissions control system fails, it may be because that model is more prone to failure than most others, according to a study conducted by Tom Wenzel of the Center's Energy Analysis Department and Marc Ross of the University of Michigan. This finding goes against conventional wisdom that such failures are usually caused by owners who don't maintain their cars properly or deliberately disable their emissions systems.
Cleanrooms are used extensively in the manufacturing of integrated circuits and in the biological and pharmaceutical industries. To maintain low particle concentrations, the air in the cleanroom must be filtered. Researchers in the Center's Indoor Environment Department are studying ways of reducing cleanroom energy using a technique called demand-controlled filtration.
Buildings designed for low energy use and thermal comfort require good insulating materials. The Center's Building Technologies Department has been studying the potential of gas-filled panels which are composed of thin polymer films and a low-conductivity gas, as an advanced insulation system in the building envelope.
Chillers are the single largest energy consumers in commercial buildings, and 23% of electricity generation powers chillers that use CFCs and HCFCs, ozone-depleting refrigerants. International agreements require the phaseout of these chillers in the next 10 years, which is providing an unparalleled opportunity to upgrade chiller efficiency. The Center for Building Science is participating in a number of projects to improve the efficiency and reliability of new building chiller plants.
A new study at a former gasoline station at the Alameda Naval Air Station, California, shows that the transport of soil gas contaminants into the structure was 1,000 times lower than what was expected, based on the elevated levels of gasoline contamination observed in the subsurface. Based on research at the site, it appears that biodegradation of the contaminant and the limiting effect of the soil beneath the structure probably contributed to the lower measured conentrations at this site. These factors may help limit the indoor air concentration of contaminants at other sites as well.
The Residential Assessment of Market Potential Project assists the Environmental Protection Agency in designing programs to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and pollution by accelerating the penetration of energy-efficient technology into the marketplace. The RAMP team is using geographic information systems technology to assess the market for energy-efficient products like efficient gas furnaces, heat pumos and household appliances.
New window technologies can help minimize solar heating of a building in the Summer and heat loss during the Winter. Architects and building designers should think of these window technologies as luminaires.
"While Congress moves to cut or eliminate a host of government energy- efficiency programs, little thought is being given to the billions of dollars of energy savings that will be forfeited by American homes and businesses...Price- and policy-induced gains averaging about 25% in all sectors are today saving energy users a staggering $150 bilion each year...Yet there remains a huge untapped potential to curb our ravenous $500-billion-a-year energy appetite ($2,000 for each American). The hard truth is that we are consistently less efficient than our global competitors..." Quoted from the text of this article.
PowerDOE is a new PC-based tool for simulating building energy performance. It combines the capabilities of the DOE-2.1E building simulation program with a Windows graphical user interface. PowerDOE is designed to serve architects, building performance analysts, electric and gas utility contractors, and HVAC designers.
In the developing world, waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, dysentery and infectious hepatitis worldwide kill more than 400 children every hour. Disinfecting water by boiling it increases the burden on those collecting firewood, mainly women and children, and depletes firewood. To address this health and energy problem, researchers at the Indoor Environment Department have developed a prototype water purification device using ultraviolet light called UV Waterworks. They estimate that it can disinfect drinking water for 2¢ per ton of water, including the cost of electricity, consumables and the annualized capital cost of the unit. The disinfection process uses 20,000 times less primary energy than boiling water with a cookstove. LBNL's Technology Transfer Licensing Office has received dozens of inquiries from businesses interested in this device.
"Energy Efficiency Improvement Utilizing High Technology" is the title of a 500-page report presented to the World Energy Council's 16th Congress in Tokyo, attended by 5,000 policymakers, industry representatives and researchers. The report analyzes global historical trends of energy use in five energy-intensive industries, residences and commercial buildings. Written by the Energy Analysis Department's Mark Levine, Lynn Price and Nathan Martin and Ernst Worrell of Utrecht University, it suggests that industrial energy use will grow by 1.4% per year through 2020. However, with the widespread use of advanced technology, industrial energy use in 2020 could remain at 1990 levels despite a growth in global industrial output ranging from 0.8 to 2.7% per year.
Aerogel is a lightweight insulator with tremendous potential in a range of applications: energy-efficient insulation and windows, acoustics, gas-phase catalysis, battery technology and microelectronics. Researchers in the Energy Conversion and Storage Department have been studying both the basic properties of aerogel and techniques to refine its desirable qualities such as transparency and insulating efficiency. A cooperative research and development agreement with Aerojet Corp. will transfer the production methods into the commercial sector and refine the current aerogel process for large-scale production. The group is also working with Maytag on refrigerator insulation application, with General Motors and Bentler on automotive insulation, and with Boeing on acoustic and thermal insulation.
Indoor Environment Department researchers recently have developed new exposure metrics for volatile organic compounds. VOCs have often been suspected as being causal agents of Sick Building Syndrome, whose symptoms include eye, nose, throat irritation, and dry itchy skin while occupying a building. However, the exact relationship between VOC exposure and SBS symptoms has never been elucidated. Unlike previous approaches, the new VOC exposure metric accounts for differences in the potency of the 30 to 100 VOC species typically found in buildings, as well as the sources of the VOCs. This work is helping to identify the causes of sick building syndrome and find solutions for its remediation.
The electricity industry in the U.S. is being dramatically restructured by state regulatory commissions and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Efforts are underway to create a wholesale market for electricity, with prices to distributing utility companies no longer being regulated. Researchers in the Energy Analysis Department are helping regulators and industry better understand their options. Recent published work has included a study of demand-side management bidding programs; an examination of power purchase contracts between utilities and non-utility generators; and a study of performance-based ratemaking as an alternative to traditional cost-of-service ratemaking regulation.
A research project at the Center for Building Science is developing and testing computer-based data visualization techniques and software that will help building managers identify problems with building systems such as lighting, heating, ventilation and cooling. By seeing graphically on a workstation or PC screen how an electrical or mechanical system is either malfunctioning or using more energy than expected, building operators will be able to identify and correct problems that they otherwise might not have noticed.This saves money and energy, improves the productivity of building stafff, and reduces the need for expensive maintenance and capital expenditures.
About half of the annual $200 billion energy bill of all U.S. buildings is wasted energy that could have been saved if all buildings used state-of-the art energy savings technologies and practices. Some measures aren't as efficient as intended because a building's operating practice does not follow the designers' intent; sometimes, the designer can benefit from better knowledge of how the technology works in practice. LBNL recently initiated a project to provide designers, builders and building managers with consistent software tools and information throughout the lifecycle of a building. The tools will be linked by a shared informational infrastructure called the Building Lifecycle Information Support System (BLISS).
The private sector participates more and more in the standards development process. One of the most successful examples among all appliances is energy efficiency standards for refrigerators. California standards enacted in the late 1970s were superseded by national efficiency requirements in 1987 effecting new refrigerators made in 1990. An updated standard, effective in 1993, further improved the efficiency of new refrigerators by 15%. A recent consensus agreement, if enacted into law, will improve refrigerator efficiency by another 25% for 1998 new units. In energy terms, an average new auto-defrost refrigerator with top mount freezer in 1972 used about 2000 kWh/yr. In 1998, a new unit will consume less than 500 kWh/yr.
Compact fluorescent lamps can reduce the amount of energy used for lighting significantly, since they can use as little as one-quarter of the energy that incandescent bulbs do. However, CFLs face market barriers, largely because they can seem dimmer than incandescents due to misapplication. To improve CFL performance, researchers in LBNL's Lighting Systems Research Group have been conducting light distribution studies of CFL fixtures using a newly built apparatus known as a 'goniophotometer' which can map the light flux emited from all angles around the fixture. Their results will help the lighting industry optimize fixtures for CFLs.
More than 30 million Americans live in multifamily housing. A disproportionate number of them are poor, renters, minority, single-parents and children. Historically, multifamily buildings have been the most neglected building sector for retrofit activity. One area that continues to block efforts to retrofit these buildings has been our lack of understanding of how ventilation and infiltration occurs in these buildings. LBNL researchers have been working with the Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development, the Boston Edison Company and the Chelsea Housing Authority, to study the complexities of air movement and demonstrate energy-efficient retrofits of public housing at the Margolis Apartments in Chelsea, Mass.
More than 12,000 carbon moNOxide poisonings, including 1,500 fatal cases, were reported in 1993. Many of the accidental poisonings are caused by malfunctioning, incorrectly installed, or misused combustion appliances, or exhaust from automobiles accidentally left running in attached garages. Indoor Environment Department researchers are developing an inexpensive carbon moNOxide passive sampler designed for large-scale indoor surveys of carbon moNOxide exposure. They are cooperating in this work with a private company, The Quantum Group of San Diego. The technology is also being adapted as a dosimeter to monitor occupational exposures.
In 1987, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act established the first national energy efficiency standards for refrigerators and freezers, furnaces, air conditioners, and other appliances, and established a schedule for possible updates. The national economy benefits by about $1000 for every federal dollar expended on this program. Consumer benefits exceed costs by about 2.5 to 1. By 2020, the net present value of energy efficiency savings from existing standards will exceed $100 billion (1990 dollars). LBNL's Energy Analysis Department provides the economic and technical analysis of alternative standard levels, supporting the Department of Energy which selects the standard level that ultimately becomes law.
Sulfur lamps are a revolutionary new light source that efficiently provide a spectrum of light similar to solar radiation. They are long-lived and maintain their efficiency and light output over their entire lifetimes, unlike conventional sources whose outputs typically diminish 75%.
LBNL is funding Fusion Lighting of Rockville, MD, to develop a commercial 1000-watt version of the sulfur lamp. In addition, researchers at LBNL are studying the physical processes that make the lamp work, refining its technology and evaluating its success in two test sites at the National Air and Space Museum, and the Department of Energy's James Forrestal Building headquarters lobby.
DOE's Federal Energy Management Department (FEMP) is "operations central" for coordinating the federal effort to reduce its own energy usage. Its goals include reducing energy use 30% by the year 2005 from a 1985 baseline, and conserving water. LBNL, other national laboratories and FEMP are cooperating in a number of high-profile projects, including an energy performance upgrade for San Francisco's Presidio, and the greening of the White House.
An integrated systems approach to combining building envelope and lighting components can lead to higher energy savings and improved occupant comfort compared to conventional energy-efficient design practice. This approach is the basis of a research project in the Building Technologies Department to develop and promote advanced integrated building systems. LBNL researchers are testing a "smart" electronically controlled blind system to regulate daylight passing through a window that provides the right amount of daylight to maximize the comfort of its occupants and minimize glare and heat gain. Field tests in a mobile testing facility showed that the system successfully reduced the heat gain through a window by 50% throughout the day. A sophisticated integrated skylight system is now in trials at the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce.
The Center has operated as a catalyst in the energy-efficiency marketplace for two decades, providing an extraordinary rate of return on the federal research investment. LBNL's specific accomplishments in the buildings sector provide an example of how the national labs can serve America today and into the next century.
Since the mid-1970s, a cumulative $70-million U.S. Department of Energy research and development investment at LBNL helped to spawn a $2.5-billion annual U.S. market for four technologies and services. As of 1993, this R&D investment leveraged energy savings worth an estimated $5 billion to consumers (with $1.3 billion in 1993 alone). By the year 2015, electronic ballasts, advanced glazing materials, and residential appliance standards will be saving consumers $16 billion annually. These and other savings will be facilitated by new computer design tools, also developed at LBNL.
(Summary of a report titled "From the Lab to the Marketplace: Making America's Buildings More Energy Efficient.")
Plans are moving forward for an Institute for Sustainable Development at San Francisco's Presidio. One of the Institute's first and most important initiatives is establishing an energy efficiency and renewable energy training program. During the next three decades, energy use in the developing world is expected to quadruple. The goal of the Institute and its training effort is to help transform energy systems around the world from their current inefficient use of depletable resources to a more efficient, sustainable system. Planners hope to begin offering training by September.
A typical house with ducts located in the attic or crawlspace wastes approximately 20% of heating and cooling energy through duct leaks, and draws about 0.5 KW more electricity during peak cooling periods. The labor costs of sealing leaking ducts varies by as much as three to six times the material costs of the process, and it is virtually impossible to get access to some leaky ducts. Aerosol-based sealing technology developed by scientists in the Indoor Environment Department is an inexpensive new method of sealing ducts that has proven itself in field tests in California. The team that developed the technology is now working on its commercialization, including getting Underwriters Laboratory certification of the duct-sealing device.
LBNL is studying advanced solar control glazings and insulating shell components for automobiles that can save one to two billion gallons of gasoline per year in the U.S. An example is electrochromic glazings, which automatically darken in response to increased daylight. These technologies not only improve a vehicle's thermal comfort, but also its safety by reducing glare and heat, and its weight and cost by allowing the manufacturer to reduce the size of the air conditioner.
The Center for Building Science has created an Applications Team to do business with the public and private sectors. It will conduct field projects to deploy proven energy efficiency technologies and indoor environment quality management for buildings in the U.S. as well as in other nations. Drawing on the 250-person staff of the Center's three research programs, LBNL's In-House Energy Management Department, and colleagues at other institutions, the A-Team is already working on projects for the National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Hydronic radiant systems use air to ventilate a building and water to cool its interior. The advantage of this technology is that it uses no recirculated air in buildings. This saves energy and improves the health of the indoor environment. LBNL scientists are studying these systems for possible wider use by the building industry, and developing a computer model of their behavior for the PowerDOE building simulation program.
Center scientists Steve Selkowitz, Francis Rubinstein, Vladimir Bazjanac, Jeff Harris, and others participated in the recent project to bring energy efficiency and other environmentally beneficial practices such as recycling to the White House. This issue's cover story describes the work of these scientists in suggesting energy-efficient improvements to the White House's lighting and HVAC systems, windows and plug loads.
Since 1978, LBNL's radon research group has been developing strategies for controlling indoor radon, a naturally occurring, carcinogenic radioactive gas. In the second of a two-part article in the Center for Building Science News (Spring 1994, p.4) Anthony Nero, with the Indoor Environment Department's radon group, discusses the efforts to identify areas containing most of the houses with high indoor radon concentrations. One promising approach is a statistical model that the radon group has developed jointly with the U.S. Geological Survey which will be combined with a geographic information system to create maps of high radon concentrations.
Since 1978, LBNL's radon group has been developing strategies for controlling indoor radon, a naturally occurring, carcinogenic radioactive gas. In the first of a two-part article in the Center for Building Science News (Spring 1994, p.4) Anthony Nero discusses the hazards posed by indoor radon and the Environmental Protection Administration's control strategy and suggests some remedies.
The average temperature in a typical American city is 3 to 5 degrees F hotter than the surrounding area. Air conditioning required to cool this effect accounts to 5 to 10 percent of urban peak electric demand. In Los Angeles alone, this additional electricity costs more than $100 million per year-and the urban heat island effect also contributes to the formation of smog. Researchers in the Energy Analysis Department have concluded that replacing roofs with lighter-colored materials in normal maintenance, lightening road surfaces to the color of weathered concrete and planting shade trees could cool off cities by up to 4 degrees F, save billions of dollars of cooling energy use annually-and make cities more pleasant places to live in the summer.
Some buildings are known to cause symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and eye and nose irritation among office workers, but the causes of these complaints are not well-understood. The California Healthy Buildings Study, conducted by Indoor Environment Department researchers, examined 12 San Francisco-area office buildings to try to understand what causes symptoms. One study goal was to correlate the occupants' symptoms with different types of ventilation and air conditioning methods used in these buildings. One result of the study is that occupants in the buildings with air conditioning had higher prevalences of most symptoms compared to occupants of buildings with natural ventilation.
One example of successful industry-LBNL collaboration is a project that has led to better compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and fixtures. Although a CFL lasts 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and saves 75% of the energy used by an equivalent number of bulbs (saving about one barrel of oil), researchers at LBNL have discovered inexpensive techniques to increase CFL light output by up to 20%. They are cooperating with a dozen of the major lighting fixture manufacturers to bring these techniques to market.
The airvest, invented by Ashok Gadgil, is a wearable vest with a built-in fan that vents air pollutants in a spray booth away from the breathing zone of the wearer. Spray booths are common in many industrial processes ranging from spray painting to welding-there are 10,000 of these in Los Angeles alone. Although these booths are equipped with a fan and filter arrangement to exhaust the contaminated air, tests performed at LBNL on mannequins have shown that the venting air rises to the worker's breathing zone in spite of the booth's ventilation. Wearing the airvest reduces the health risk to the worker by venting the bad air directly away from the breathing zone. It also saves energy (about $1,000 per shift per year), since the ventilation rate can be reduced to half the recommended standard while decreasing pollutant concentration at the worker's nose up to 50 times.
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