Art Rosenfeld, California’s Godfather of Energy Efficiency, Dies at 90

Art Rosenfeld, California’s Godfather of Energy Efficiency, Dies at 90

January 27, 2017

Art Rosenfeld, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Distinguished Scientist Emeritus who is also known as California’s “godfather” of energy efficiency and who has been credited with being personally responsible for billions of dollars in energy savings, died Friday at his home in Berkeley, California. He was 90.

A particle physicist who decided one evening four decades ago to turn off unused lights in his Berkeley Lab office building, Rosenfeld went on to create the field of energy efficiency, inspire an entire generation of energy researchers, and conduct the rigorous engineering analyses that would lead to breakthroughs in low-energy lighting, windows, refrigerators, buildings, and many other areas, while convincing utilities and policymakers that new power plants—and their accompanying greenhouse gas emissions—were not necessary.

“Art’s leadership in the field of energy efficiency truly shaped the way an entire generation of researchers and policymakers worked together to conserve resources,” said Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell. “He helped enlarge the vision of what a national lab can do—for the great benefit of humankind.”

The term “Rosenfeld effect” was coined to explain why California’s per capita electricity usage has remained flat since the mid-1970s while U.S. usage has climbed steadily and is now 50 percent higher than it was 40 years ago. He is also behind “Rosenfeld’s Law,” which states that the amount of energy required to produce one dollar of economic output has decreased by about 1 percent per year since 1845.

Read the full article at

In Memoriam | Art Rosenfeld Tribute website

Remembering Energy Guru Art Rosenfeld:

Julie Chao