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Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Hyundai Engineering and Berkeley Lab Collaborate on Energy-Efficient Buildings Research

Mary Ann Piette, Don DePaolo, Ho-kyoo Jo, Kim Dong Ku, and Philip Haves

From left to right: Mary Ann Piette, Don DePaolo, Ho-kyoo Jo, Kim Dong Ku, and Philip Haves

From left to right: Mary Ann Piette, Don DePaolo, Ho-kyoo Jo, Kim Dong Ku, and Philip Haves

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will work with Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company to develop and evaluate advanced building technologies and use simulation tools to better understand building performance. Representatives of the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding to explore mutual research opportunities in the experimental evaluation of building technologies and in computer simulation of building performance. As part of their activities with Berkeley Lab, Hyundai will partner with FLEXLAB, the building system test facility for energy-efficient building technologies, now under construction at Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD).

Ho-kyoo Jo, Director of Hyundai's Research and Development Division/Building Works R&D Group, and Kim Dong Ku, senior research engineer in its Green City R&D Team, met with Berkeley Lab's Don DePaolo, Associate Lab Director for Energy & Environment, Mary Ann Piette, Head of the Building Technologies and Urban Studies Department, Philip Haves, Leader of the Simulation Research Group, and others to discuss common areas of interest. The Hyundai delegation viewed the FLEXLAB construction site and discussed startup activities with FLEXLAB Manager Cindy Regnier.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd., is a South Korean-based general construction company. It provides civil engineering, architectural, industrial, and energy services, and has an interest in R&D and developing green technologies.

California Clean Diesel Programs Slash Black Carbon; Reduce Climate Change

A recent study found that the California Air Resources Board's (CARB's) multi-decade efforts to reduce emissions from diesel exhaust in the state has also reduced black carbon levels, thereby mitigating the state's contribution to climate warming. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers Tom Kirchstetter and Odelle Hadley participated in the study with colleagues from Scripps Institution of Oceanography; the University of California, San Diego; and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Reductions in emissions of black carbon since the late 1980s.

Reductions in emissions of black carbon since the late 1980s, mostly from diesel engines as a result of air quality programs, have resulted in a measurable reduction of concentrations of global warming pollutants in the atmosphere.

Reductions in emissions of black carbon since the late 1980s.

Reductions in emissions of black carbon since the late 1980s, mostly from diesel engines as a result of air quality programs, have resulted in a measurable reduction of concentrations of global warming pollutants in the atmosphere.

Black carbon, which consists of very small soot particles emitted into the atmosphere by burning fuels, has long been shown to have adverse health and environmental impacts, and more recently was identified as a major short-lived contributor to climate change. Much of California's black carbon originates from diesel-burning mobile sources.

Co-author Kirchstetter says, "Black carbon levels have decreased by about 90 percent over a 45-year period, beginning with the establishment of CARB in 1967, mostly as a result of state regulations for diesel engine emissions."

As a testament to the effectiveness of CARB's diesel programs, those deep reductions were achieved over a time frame when diesel fuel consumption increased by about a factor of five. The report, Black Carbon and Regional Climate of California, estimates that CARB's efforts to reduce diesel emissions (and therefore, black carbon) had the same result as taking more than 4 million cars off California roads every year would have.

The research team collected air pollution data by aircraft, satellite, and ground monitors and ran that data in computer models. They considered emissions only from diesel-powered trucks and buses, and off-road diesel equipment and vehicles. However, if farming and construction equipment and trains and ships were considered, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction could reach 50 million metric tons per year over 20 years—about a 13-percent reduction in the state's total annual CO2 emissions.

The study was also the first to show that black carbon emitted in diesel exhaust overcomes the cooling effect observed from other diesel emissions; resulting in a net warming. It also linked brown carbon, a form of organic carbon aerosols from wildfires, to warming, not cooling, as previously thought.

Project leader Veerabhadran Ramanathan believes that more widespread diesel reductions could be an effective strategy for slowing global warming. "If California's efforts in reducing black carbon can be replicated globally, we can slow down global warming in the coming decades by about 15 percent, in addition to protecting people's lives," he said. "It is a win-win solution if we also mitigate carbon dioxide emissions simultaneously."

CARB chairman Mary D. Nichols agrees. "This report makes it clear that our efforts to clean up the trucks and buses on our roads and highways also help us in the fight against climate change."

New EETD Websites

Screenshot of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Department website

Several new Environmental Energy Technologies Division websites have premiered recently.

Come and learn about what the following groups and departments do:

  • EETD's Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Department website.
  • Energy Efficiency Standards Group website.
  • International Energy Studies Group website.
  • Grid Integration Group website.


Big Energy Savings from Transitioning Software Applications to the Cloud

Moving to the cloud can save up to 87% of IT energy.

A Google-funded study led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) shows that moving common software applications used by 86 million U.S. workers to the cloud could cut information technology energy consumption by as much as 87 percent—about 23 billion kilowatt-hours—saving enough electricity annually to power Los Angeles for a year.

The study, conducted by scientists in Berkeley Lab's Computational Research (CRD) and Environmental Energy Technologies (EETD) divisions and at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, focused on e-mail, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and bundled productivity software. Google contacted Berkeley Lab to lead the study based on the laboratory's extensive research into data center energy efficiency and, more recently, an assessment of the suitability of cloud computing.

A primary goal of the project was to develop a state-of-the-art model that researchers and the public could use to analyze the energy and carbon impacts of cloud computing. The model accounts for all of the factors necessary for comprehensive assessment of the environmental benefits or costs of shifting from local or physical resources to the cloud. Individuals, program funding agencies, and policymakers all will be able to use the model to assess their computing needs and energy demands. It can be found on the Cloud Energy and Emissions Research Model website.

"The model, which will be available to a wide audience, allows you to evaluate energy use of various options in a significant way," said Berkeley Lab's Lavanya Ramakrishnan, the study's principal investigator. "By studying the present-day and cloud scenarios, you can see the net energy and carbon-footprint benefits at a range of scales."

Eric Masanet, lead author of the report and former EETD researcher, led the Northwestern research team of Jiaqi Liang, Xiahui Ma, and Ben Walker. Ramakrishnan, a research scientist in the Computational Research Division, led the development of the public model, and the division's Valerie Hendrix and Pradeep Mantha helped develop it. Arman Shehabi, a principal scientific engineering associate in EETD, led Berkeley Lab's analysis component.

"This powerful, public use model is really a foundational tool for the energy analysis community," Shehabi said. "The analytical structure and various assumptions are fully transparent, so users can explore the model's underlying analytics, compare different scenarios, poke at the data, and discuss the results with the community."

The Energy Efficiency Potential of Cloud-Based Software report cover

"We commend Berkeley Lab for completing such a thorough study of the broader implications of Internet computing," said Michael Terrell, Senior Policy Council for Energy and Sustainability at Google. "We're especially excited that the model will be made available to other researchers and experts interested in doing their own analysis."


Masanet presented the study at the "How Green is the Internet" summit hosted by Google in Mountain View, California. The report can be found online.

For more information:

  • Lavanya Ramakrishnan (Berkeley Lab)
  • (510) 486-4384
  • Eric Masanet (Northwestern)
  • (847) 467-2806

EETD Researchers Share in Supercomputing Award

William Tschudi William Tschudi Henry Coles Henry Coles

Members of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab's) Energy Efficient High Performance Computing Working Group (EE HPC WG) have won the Gauss Award of the German Gauss Center for Supercomputing for their paper, "TUE, a New Energy-Efficiency Metric Applied at ORNL's Jaguar." The award is presented for the most outstanding paper in the field of scalable supercomputing at the International Scientific Computing Conference in Leipzig, Germany. Authors included William Tschudi and Henry Coles of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD). The EE HPC WG was conceived and is led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to promote energy-efficient green computing best practices.

Berkeley Lab EETD to Work With Shenzhen Institute of Building Research on Energy-Efficient Buildings, Low-Carbon Cities

The Shenzhen Institute of Building Research (IBR) of Shenzhen, China, will collaborate with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) on a variety of research and technology development and demonstration projects under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) recently signed in Shenzhen.

Ye Qing, Lynn Price, Mary Nichols

National Development and Reform Commission Minister Xie Zhenhua and other dignitaries witness the signing of MOUs, including one between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Shenzhen Institute for Building Research, and a memorandum of understanding between the California Air Resources Board and the Government of Shenzhen Municipality.

Front row, far right: Ye Qing, Director of the Shenzhen Institute for Buildings Research. To the left is Lynn Price, Leader, China Energy Group; and left of her is Mary Nichols, Head, California Air Resources Board.


Lynn Price, leader of the China Energy Group in Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, participated in a ceremony marking the agreement in Shenzhen. The signing took place at the First Shenzhen International Low-Carbon City Forum. Minister Xie Zhenhua of China's National Development and Reform Commission and three other dignitaries attended the signing.

Nan Zhou, Deputy Director of the China Energy Group and Director of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center for Buildings Energy Efficiency (CERC-BEE) also attended the forum. She explained, "This MOU builds on our existing relationship with the Shenzhen Institute for Building Research through CERC-BEE. Berkeley Lab looks forward to continuing our cooperation with Shenzhen IBR, led by Director Ye Qing, a visionary in the area of low-carbon development."

Under the MOU, the two institutions will work together on the planning, construction, and operation of low-carbon cities in China, and on developing and demonstrating technologies for low-carbon cities. The MOU also calls on the parties to explore the provision of training and assistance to incubate industries developing low-carbon technologies. The Shenzhen International Low Carbon City project is the expected focus of this cooperation.

The two-day meeting included a series of forums and exhibitions at the new Shenzhen International Low Carbon City and included the inauguration of China's first pilot Emissions Trading System (ETS), a milestone in China's efforts to combat climate change.

At the same ceremony, the head of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, signed a separate MOU with the Government of Shenzhen Municipality to assist the city with its carbon-trading program—the first in China. Under that agreement, California and Shenzhen have agreed to work together to share policy design and early experiences from their carbon-trading programs, to build strong, stable, and growing markets for clean energy technology and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

For more information:

CARB press release

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