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Research Highlights

Art Rosenfeld Wins Global Energy Prize

Art Rosenfeld

Art Rosenfeld

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Distinguished Scientist Art Rosenfeld has been awarded the Global Energy International Prize for his contributions to the field of energy efficiency.

The Global Energy International Prize was established by Russian scientists in 2002 "for outstanding scientific achievements in the field of energy which have proved of benefit to the entire human race."

In announcing the prize, the organization said: "Arthur Rosenfeld is known for his innovation and technological research in the field of construction of energy-efficient buildings. Arthur Rosenfeld has been honored by fellow scientists by giving his name to a unit of energy savings equaling three billion kilowatt-hours."

The prize was announced by Nikolay Laverov, vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and was also awarded to Russian academician Philipp Rutberg for developing energy plasma technologies. The prize fund of 33 million rubles (USD 1.18 million) will be divided equally between the two laureates. The awards ceremony will be held in June in St. Petersburg, Russia.

UV Waterworks Wins Ashok Gadgil a European Inventor Award

Ashok Gadgil

Ashok Gadgil

Berkeley Lab scientist Ashok Gadgil recently received the European Inventor Award for UV Waterworks, an innovative portable water purification device based on ultraviolet light. Gadgil shares the award, presented by the European Patent Office (EPO) in the non-European category, with co-inventor Vikas Garud. This simple, low-cost device has been licensed by WaterHealth International and has been installed in more than 10 countries around the world. Thus far, it has brought clean water to more than 2 million people. At the presentation, EPO President Benoît Battistelli complimented the inventors. "(The winners) have not only contributed to the economic development of their companies and research institutions, but have also helped to create jobs and improve people's daily lives."

For more information, see:

Ashok Gadgil Receives 2011 Olympus Innovation Award


Pictured left to right: Dr. Ashok Gadgil, the 2011 Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award winner; Dr. Soumyadipta Acharya, the 2011 Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award; Dr. Laura Ferguson, Group Manager, Market Strategy and Research, Scientific Equipment Group, Olympus America; Amy Smith, the 2011 Olympus Innovation Award; and Phil Weilerstein, Executive Director, NCIIA.

Ashok Gadgil, Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division, has received the 2011 Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award. The award recognizes "faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained contribution throughout their careers to stimulating and inspiring innovative thinking in students in their own universities and throughout academia." Gadgil, one of three 2011 winners, was cited for "the significant impact his [UC Berkeley] interdisciplinary graduate course, Design for Sustainable Communities, has had on faculty, students, and in turn, developing countries." The citation also singles out his work on the Darfur Stove Project.

The award is a joint presentation of the Olympus Corporation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

More information is available at the Olympus Innovation Awards website.

International Workshop on Advances in Cool Roof Research: Protocols, Standards & Policies for Accelerated Aging

Cool Roof Samles

Thursday, July 28th - Friday, July 29th

Doubletree Hotel at Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, CA USA

This two-day workshop is sponsored by the Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Concordia University, and the US Department of Energy. It will address accelerated soiling and weathering methods for roofing materials; incorporation of accelerated age ratings into policies, standards, and rating systems; and other topics, such as marketplace trends in cool roofing.

Please view the workshop website or download the one-page flier to learn more and register.

Two-Tier Loan Structure Offers New Energy Efficiency Financing and Research Data

New York State is offering New Yorkers expanded access to low-cost financing of energy-efficiency upgrades. The Green Jobs-Green New York (GJGNY) Program, operated by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is using innovative underwriting criteria to help ensure that more homeowners obtain financing to participate in the state's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) program.

In November 2010, NYSERDA began to apply two tiers of underwriting standards to qualify applicants for unsecured loans. The Tier 1 standards still apply the traditional loan standard (credit scores); but the Tier 2 standards use consistency of utility bill and mortgage payments as a guide to determine whether or not a borrower qualifies.

This program will help determine: whether Tier 2 households will assume debt for energy upgrades, if they can afford it, if the Tier 2 standards are effective measures of determining creditworthiness, whether investors will invest in bonds that bundle loans using both Tier 1 and Tier 2 standards, and if the upgrades save households money.

Already the program has revealed that a more streamlined application process and assurance that the loan terms are identical for both tiers would persuade people who were denied a Tier 1 loan to apply for a Tier 2 loan.

For more information on the GJGNY program, see the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority website.

Austin's Home Performance With ENERGY STAR Program Achieves Success With Partner Velocity Credit Union

Launched in 2006, Austin Energy's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) program has completed over 8,700 residential energy upgrades. The program's lending partner, Velocity Credit Union, has originated almost 1,800 loans totaling approximately $12.5 million. Residential energy-efficiency loans are typically small, and expensive to originate and service relative to larger financing products. National lenders have been hesitant to deliver attractive loan products to this small, but growing residential market. In response, energy-efficiency programs have found ways to partner with local and regional banks, credit unions, community development finance institutions (CDFIs), and co-ops to deliver energy-efficiency financing to homeowners. Velocity Credit Union's experience with the Austin Energy HPwES program highlights the potential benefits of energy-efficiency programs to a lending partner.

For more information, read the Clean Energy Program Policy Brief, "Austin's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program: Making a Compelling Offer to a Financial Institution Partner." [PDF]

Berkeley Lab Scientists' Work Supports IPCC Report Conclusion That Renewables Can Meet Much of World's Energy Needs

Jayant Sathaye

Jayant Sathaye

A recent report examining renewable energy's potential role in reducing emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases concludes that a high percentage of the world's energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century, if backed by the right enabling public policies.

Two researchers in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Jayant Sathaye and Ryan Wiser, were Coordinating Lead Authors of the study, which represents the scientific work of 120 contributors. Wiser was the lead contributor to the chapter on wind power, and was also primarily responsible for Section 3 of the summary, "Renewable Energy Technologies and Markets."

Ryan Wiser

Ryan Wiser

Sathaye was the lead contributor on the chapter "Renewable Energy in the Context of Sustainable Development." His work appears in Section 5, which addresses the social and economic impacts of renewable energy, energy security, access to energy, and climate change and other environmental impacts.

"We found that the median value of the lifecycle emissions of greenhouse gases from all renewable energy technologies was a small fraction of those of fossil fuels," says Sathaye.

Says Wiser, "This was an ambitious effort—a comprehensive, global assessment of the potential role of renewable energy in mitigating global climate change. The report's findings are clear: that renewable energy can play a large role in reducing carbon emissions, but only if framework conditions are established to support market growth."

The study indicates that the rising penetration of renewable energy technologies could lead to cumulative greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 220 to 560 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2eq) between 2010 and 2050. The higher estimate of emissions reduction represents a cut of approximately one-third in greenhouse gas emissions from business-as-usual projections.

—Allan Chen

For more information, see:

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