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Research Highlights

Plan to Reduce Standby Power Loss Gets Energy Globe Award

An International Energy Agency (IEA) project to reduce the waste of standby electrical power by common household appliances has won an Energy Globe 2002 award. Alan Meier, a scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division, proposed the 1-Watt Initiative as a way to reduce wasted electricity when his research on standby power loss showed that it accounts for as much as 10 percent of a typical household electricity bill.

IEA's Benoit Lebot (a former staff member of EETD) developed the Initiative into a program of workshops and conferences to help the IEA's 25 nations, as well as many other non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, implement solutions to reduce standby power loss. The award notes that "each Watt consumed by an appliance in standby mode totals 8.76 kWh per annum and costs one Euro on average." Other efforts are underway in the United States and Asia-Pacific nations to reduce standby power loss as well.

Group photo at Energy Globe 2002 awards ceremony.

Group photo at Energy Globe 2002 awards ceremony.

The award also notes that "The initiative has already gained legitimacy when Australia formally endorsed the concept and when U.S. President Bush issued an Executive Order requiring the federal government to purchase products with low standby losses."

The 1-Watt Initiative received an Energy Globe 2nd prize in the category of "Public and Private Initiatives." There were three winners in each of five categories. More than 2,100 energy- and water-saving projects were nominated for awards in the Energy Globe 2002 competition.

The IEA consists of 25 countries, including 15 nations from the European Union. Energy Globe awards are given yearly to public agencies and private companies throughout the world by the O.Oe. Energiesparverband, a regional energy agency in Linz, Austria that promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and innovative energy technologies. The awards were announced at a gala in Linz on March 6.

For more information see:
Alan Meier's home page on standby power:

Michael Siminovitch (l) stands next to Donald Glaser (r), seated at his desk, with a Berkeley Lamp.

Nobelist Uses Berkeley Lamp

Retired Berkeley Lab physicist and Nobel Laureate Donald A. Glaser with one of the two Berkeley Lamps installed in his home recently by lamp developer Michael Siminovitch.

Energy Choices Made More Difficult

The use of solar power, wind energy, and other alternative energy sources could rise 40% by 2010 if consumers are given a greater choice of how their electricity is generated, according to a new report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. So-called "green power" has thrived in states with retail market competition, but the recent suspension of customer choice in California shows "the transition to competitive retail power markets will not be smooth,"said LBNL researcher Ryan Wiser, a co-author of the report. "If competitive retail markets fail to materialize, utility programs must pick up the slack." The report, Forecasting the Growth of Green Power Markets in the United States, can be downloaded from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy web site.

EETD's David Lorenzetti (left) receives his award from DOE's Peter Faletra.

EETD's David Lorenzetti (left) receives his award from DOE's Peter Faletra.

(l to r) William Fisk (IEP Head), Goth-Goldstein, Faletra, Director Shank, and Dick Nolan (DOE site manager) at the awards ceremony.

(l to r) William Fisk (IEP Head), Goth-Goldstein, Faletra, Director Shank, and Dick Nolan (DOE site manager) at the awards ceremony.

EETD Scientists Honored for Volunteer Work

Peter Faletra, Education Program Director from the DOE Office of Science presented five mentor awards in a recent ceremony held at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Among the recipients were two Environmental Energy Technologies Division scientists: Regine Goth-Goldstein and David Lorenzetti (both of the Indoor Environment Department).

The Office of Science operates educations programs in DOE's National Laboratories, aimed at increasing the number of students choosing science and technology careers in the national laboratories and private sector research institutes.

Goth-Goldstein directed students in her work investigating how variations in the metabolism of cancer-causing chemicals contribute to an individual's susceptibility to various cancers. She states that her research is ideal for students without previous lab experience because it teaches a number of molecular biology methods and epidemiological approaches, while providing an easily understandable link to general health concerns.

Lorenzetti had students finding and testing computer programs to solve nonlinear equations as well as measuring air flows in large openings such as stairwells. Lorenzetti says that the students were bright self-starters who were also fun to work with. One of David's protegees, William Watts, has returned to EETD. This summer he will measure pollutant transport in buildings.

AirLiner® a Winner

AirLiner®, a packaging system for shipping cold or hot products, was developed by Cargotech Technology (San Diego) based on EETD's research on multipaned windows, which led to development of the gas-filled panel (GFP) insulation material. AirLiner uses a reflective barrier film that prohibits heat transfer, and its inflatable design makes the product easy to store until it is needed. (See EETD News Vol. 2, No. 2, for a more complete story on the research.)

AirLiner was recently awarded a Highest Achievement Award in the 2002 Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards competition. The Flexible Packaging Association sponsors the awards. AirLiner received additional awards for technical innovation and environmental achievement.

Award-Winning EnergyPlus

EETD's Simulation Research Group's EnergyPlus program has won an award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, an organization of more than 700 major federal laboratories and centers and their parent departments and agencies. The awards ceremony took place May 8, at the FLC 2002 Annual Meeting in Little Rock, AK.

Energy Plus is a new-generation building energy-simulation program that models building heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, and other energy flows.

California Energy Commission Funds Data Centers Study

During the California electricity crisis of 2001, some observers and journalists pointed fingers at the rapid expansion of the Internet and blamed computer hardware for the energy shortages. Research conducted by Berkeley Lab scientist Jon Koomey debunked this myth. His work showed that all computer hardware, including servers, routers, and other devices forming the Internet, use no more than 2% of electricity use nationwide. (See "Research Finds Computer-Related Electricity Use to be Overestimated.")

Questions have persisted about the use of energy by a type of facility that has become prominent since the expansion of the Internet as a commercial entity: the data center, also known in some applications as the web server farm. These buildings can house hundreds of computers that store and transmit the data and web pages available on the Internet.

In early March, the California Energy Commission announced that it was awarding a grant of $500,000 to Berkeley Lab to conduct research designed to reduce the energy use of data centers in California by 30%. About 17% of the nation's server farms are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, requiring 80 MW of power to run. Saving 30% of this would free up 24 MW of power. In addition, there are a wide variety of data centers in use in industrial, research, and educational institutions that are also the target of this study.

"Any megawatt savings would be really helpful to California in the next few summers," says Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld, chair of the Commission's Research, Development, and Demonstration Committee. "Twenty-four megawatts of electricity running continuously will supply 24,000 average California homes."

There are three parts to the research. The first will characterize the power load drawn by data centers in California-answering the questions of where the data centers are in the state, and how much electricity they use. Researchers will then study three to five centers in depth, and develop case studies showing the opportunities for improved energy efficiency. The third task will be to develop a road map, in cooperation with the private sector, for improving the efficiency of California data centers.

Dale Sartor, head of EETD's Applications Team, and William Tschudi are managing the project; Koomey will participate in the first phase. The team is also conducting a case study review of a data center in New York for the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration. NYSERDA and the CEC will share results of their research to help better manage data centers in both states.

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