Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld

Arthur Rosenfeld, Ph.D

Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Ph.D. was originally appointed to the California Energy Commission by Governor Gray Davis in April 2000 and was reappointed by Governor Schwarzenegger January 26, 2005. The five members of the Energy Commission are appointed by the Governor to staggered five-year terms and requires Senate confirmation. By law, four of the five members of the Energy Commission have professional training in specific areas – engineering or physical science, environmental protection, economics, law, and one commissioner from the public-at-large. Commissioner Rosenfeld fills the physical science position. Commissioner Rosenfeld is presiding member of the Research, Development and Demonstration Committee and the Dynamic Pricing Committee (Ad Hoc Committee); and the second member of the Energy Efficiency Committee.

Dr. Rosenfeld received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1954 under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi, then joined the Department of Physics at the Un. of California at Berkeley. There he joined, and eventually led, the Nobel prizewinning particle physics group of Luis Alvarez at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) until 1974. At that time, he changed to the new field of efficient use of energy, formed the Center for Building Science at LBNL and led it until 1994. The Center developed electronic ballasts for fluorescent lamps (which led to compact fluorescent lamps), low-emissivity windows, and the DOE-2 computer program for the energy analysis and design of buildings, for which Dr. Rosenfeld was personally responsible.

Dr. Rosenfeld received the Szilard Award for Physics in the Public Interest in 1986, and the Carnot Award for Energy Efficiency from the U.S. Department of Energy in 1993. On June 21, 2006, Dr. Rosenfeld received the Enrico Fermi Award, the oldest and one of the most prestigious science and technology awards given by the U.S. Government. This award was presented by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, “…on behalf of the President of the United States for a lifetime of achievement ranging from pioneering scientific discoveries in experimental nuclear and particle physics to innovations in science, technology, and public policy for energy conservation that continue to benefit humanity. This award recognizes scientists of international stature for their lifetimes of exceptional achievement in the development, use, control, or production of energy.” This award is particularly important to Dr. Rosenfeld because he was one Enrico Fermi’s last graduate students. Dr. Rosenfeld is the co-founder of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the University of California’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (CIEE), and the Washington-based Center for Energy and Climate Solutions (CECS). From 1994-1999 Dr. Rosenfeld served as Senior Adviser for the U. S. Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

All of these innovations and others, added together, have saved over $800 billion dollars since the 1950’s. All of these innovations were contributed to or created by the laboratory of one man: Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld, an 81 year old particle physicist, who has worked on the physics and policy of energy efficiency in the United States for longer than just about anyone. From 90% efficient motors to low-emissivity windows to compact fluorescent light bulbs, Rosenfeld worked on it all. In 1975, during the first oil crisis, he persuaded the U.S. government to create (and place him in charge of) the Center for Building Science. In the next thirty years, hundreds of innovations would spring from the Center for Building Science (now called the Environmental Energy Technologies Division) every one devoted to decreasing the amount of energy wasted in the world. Not only are we in an $800+ billion debt to him, that number is growing by more each year. By 2010, we will owe him over a trillion dollars. If anyone thinks that energy efficiency is bad for business, we need look no further than that number. And, on top of it, the environmental benefits of Rosenfeld’s innovations are incalculable.

On Oct 30, 2008, in London, the Economist magazine awarded him Innovator of the Year in the field of Energy and Environment. He has now retired from the California Energy Commission to continue his work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.