Welcome the Rosenfeld

If Berkeley wasn’t already blushing from its dominance in scientific nomenclature* it looks like another local name may be immortalized. In a refereed article in Environmental Research Letters, a group of scientists propose that a unit of electricity savings be named the Rosenfeld, after Arthur Rosenfeld, “the godfather of energy efficiency” (photo right).

The proposed Rosenfeld is defined as savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours per year, the amount necessary to replace the generation of a 500 megawatt coal-fired power plant:

In this letter we propose standard characteristics for an avoided power plant that have physical meaning and intuitive plausibility, for use in back-of-the-envelope calculations and characterizing energy savings results. We also propose naming the annual energy savings of such a plant as a new unit in Art Rosenfeld’s honor (the Rosenfeld) because Dr Rosenfeld continues to be the most prominent advocate of characterizing efficiency savings in terms of avoided power plants.

Rosenfeld started his work on energy efficiency at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in 1974. He is best known for the so-called Rosenfeld effect, which explains how energy efficiency standards meant that California’s per capita electricity use remained flat while use in the rest of the US climbed steadily.

Rosenfeld has just completed the second of two five-year terms on the California Energy Commission and is returning to Berkeley Lab this spring.


* Four elements, Berkelium, Californium, Lawrencium and Seaborgium, were discovered by Berkeley researchers and have local names.