How to keep the lights on and your food cold during a PG&E outage

How to keep the lights on and your food cold during a PG&E outage

Seminar Abstract 

In this seminar a few ETA researchers will share various approaches to dealing with electric power outages such as the recent PG&E scheduled outage. Approaches range from small solar/battery systems to power modest electronics and lighting, inverting AC power from a regular car or electric vehicle, to household solar PV power with batteries (such as the Tesla PowerWall) and without (such as the SMA “secure power supply”). We will describe the benefits and drawbacks of currently available backup power systems and identify where these systems could be improved with new communication standards and systems integration.

Seminar Speaker(s) 

Steve Greenberg
Facilities Energy Management Engineer 4, FLEXLAB, High Tech & Industrial Systems Group, Building & Industrial Applications Department, Building Technology & Urban Systems Division

Steve Greenberg is a Senior Energy Management Engineer in the High Tech and Industrial Systems Group. He has researched and applied energy-efficient building and industrial systems, for a variety of clients on three continents over the past 27 years. He is currently working with the Lab’s Applications Team, performing research on building energy efficiency, as well as working with the Lab’s Facilities Division on several new building projects. He has been involved in design, design review, commissioning, and retrofit. Steve Greenberg holds a BSin Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Energy and Resources, both from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a registered Mechanical Engineer in California. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council and a Certified Energy Manager.

Christian Kohler
Program Manager 4, Building Façade Solutions, FLEXLAB, Windows & Envelope Materials Group, Building Technology Department, Building Technology & Urban Systems Division, Windows & Daylighting

Christian Kohler is the department head for Building Technologies at Berkeley Lab. For over 20 years he has been involved in all aspects of building energy efficiency research such as simulation, measurement and technology development. He has been deeply engaged in software development for various windows related tools, e.g., THERM, WINDOW, and Optics5. He has also led the development of new technologies for highly insulating and dynamic windows. His activities include algorithm development, user support, training, developing embedded controllers and experimental work on highly insulating and dynamic windows. His major work with industry has included being an elected Member of the Board of Directors of the National Fenestration Rating Council and the past Research Chair and Committee Chair Fenestration Technical Committee, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Prior to that he was working at the LBNL Infrared Thermography research facility.  He received his Masters degree in Building Physics in 1997 from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Howdy Goudey
Scientific Engineering Associate, Building Façade Solutions, Windows & Envelope Materials Group, Building Technology Department, Building Technology & Urban Systems Division, Windows & Daylighting

Howdy Goudey began working in the Windows and Daylighting group at LBNL in 1993. At the time he was a student at University of California, Berkeley, where he completed a BS degree in Engineering Physics in 1997. He has over twenty-five years of experience at LBNL with hands-on laboratory design and measurement with an emphasis on thermal systems, the building envelope (particularly windows), heat transfer and solar energy systems. With a strong dedication to energy efficiency and renewable energy engineering, test and measurement, Howdy has developed expertise with quantitative infrared thermography techniques in laboratory and field environments, including management and operation of thermal environmental chambers (IRlab) and a thermal calorimetry facility using outdoor weather conditions (MoWiTT). The Berkeley Lab environment has provided the opportunity to contribute to numerous diverse research efforts, both within and outside his focus on solar/thermal aspects of the building envelope, including: electronic and mechanical design and fabrication, experimental data acquisition and motion control hardware, and advanced prototype development of new technologies. Howdy was part of a team that received an R&D100 award in 2001 for contributions to Gas Filled Panel (GFP) high performance thermal insulation development.

Todd Karin
Postdoctoral Researcher, Applied Energy Materials Group, Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division

Todd Karin works in the Energy Technology Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He is an active collaborator in the DuraMat consortium, which aims to discover, develop, de-risk, and enable the rapid commercialization of improved materials, designs, and predictive tests and models for photovoltaic (PV) modules that increase performance, extend lifetimes, and enable new applications.

His current projects include:
- Studying the interaction between climate and PV degradation.
- Improving string sizing calculations using site-specific modeling:
- Determining longevity of anti-reflection coatings on PV glass.
- Using PV power plant production data to determine specific degradation modes.

Prior to joining LBL, Dr. Karin developed fiber optic technology for monitoring the state-of-health of power transformers for grid applications. In his PhD, he investigated quantum optical properties of semiconductor defects and developed novel optical super-resolution microscopy methods. He has expertise in optical systems, semiconductor physics, quantum optics, and semiconductor devices.

Dr. Karin holds a Ph.D. in Physics from University of Washington and a B.A. in Physics from UC Berkeley. He received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a University of Washington Clean Energy Institute fellowship.


Nov 1, 2019 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm