Ronnen Levinson, LBNL Staff Scientist

Berkley Lab Scientist Awarded the 2016 Marty Hastings Award

Berkeley Lab Scientist Ronnen Levinson was awarded 2016 Marty Hastings Award in recognition of outstanding contributions made to the Cool Roof Fating Council (CRRC). The organization has recognized the many years Ronnen has dedicated to serving on the CRRC Board as an ex-officio member, as well as his participation in the Technical Committee and working groups. Nominators noted his exceptional tenure with the organization and tireless advocacy for strong scientific and technical methods.

The Marty Hastings Award is in honor of its longtime Board member, Treasurer, and Technical Committee member who passed away from cancer. Mr. Hastings contributed greatly to the CRRC and is fondly remembered for his upbeat attitude, enthusiasm, and sense of humor. 

To commemorate Mr. Hastings’ contributions to the organization, the CRRC created an annual award for a volunteer who has made outstanding contributions to the CRRC. Nominations for the award are solicited from the CRRC membership, and the recipient is selected by a Board-appointed committee. As part of the award, the CRRC has made a donation in Dr. Levinson’s name to a charitable organization of his choice. Dr. Levinson chose to support the Arthur Rosenfeld Award for Energy Efficiency in honor of Dr. Rosenfeld’s contributions to energy efficiency and cool roofs, and to celebrate Dr. Rosenfeld’s 90th birthday on June 22, 2016. The Rosenfeld Fund supports graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley who are committed to energy efficiency research and related scholarly pursuits.

Read more about the award in the press release

The energy efficiency improvements for the bench tests on an actual gaming computer

Gaming Computers Offer Huge, Untapped Energy Savings Potential

In the world of computer gaming, bragging rights are accorded to those who can boast of blazing-fast graphics cards, the most powerful processors, the highest-resolution monitors, and the coolest decorative lighting. They are not bestowed upon those crowing about the energy efficiency of their system. If they were, gaming computers worldwide might well be consuming billions of dollars less in electricity use annually, with no loss in performance, according to new research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

In the first study of its kind, Berkeley Lab researcher Evan Mills co-authored an investigation of the aggregate global energy use of personal computers designed for gaming—including taking direct measurements using industry benchmarking tools—and found that gamers can achieve energy savings of more than 75 percent by changing some settings and swapping out some components, while also improving reliability and performance.  Read entire article here.

Tooga/Getty Images

Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are ‘Off’?

Once upon a time, there was a difference between on and off. Now, it's more complicated: Roughly 50 devices and appliances in the typical American household are always drawing power, even when they appear to be off, estimates Alan Meier, a senior scientist at the Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab.

It adds up. About a quarter of all residential energy consumption is used on devices in idle power mode, according to a study of Northern California by the Natural Resources Defense Council. That means that devices that are "off" or in standby or sleep mode can use up to the equivalent of 50 large power plants' worth of electricity and cost more than $19 billion in electricity bills every year. And there's an environmental cost: Overall electricity production represents about 37 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, one of the main contributors to climate change.

In the name of scientific inquiry, I tested about 30 appliances from friends' houses as well as my own by plugging the devices into a Kill-a-Watt power meter, which can track how much power (in watts) is being drawn at any given moment.

Read Full Article HERE.

Steve Greenberg awarded LBNL Director’s Achievement Awarded in category of Service

The Director's Office at LBNL recognizes exceptional achievement. This year Steve Greenberg of the Energy Technologies Area was recognized in the category of 'Service' – assistance in support of the Lab's mission and strategic goals provided in a spirit of cooperation and commitment to excellence.
In his 33 years of working at LBNL he has made contributions to 1) our buildings, 2) our staff, and 3) our community. Working as a building engineer and researcher,he pushes best practice and the practice provides a reality check on the research. His professional work is to ensure that our facilities are as energy efficient as possible in design and operation. His personal commitment to educating the next generation of energy experts is also commendable, and he leads both by mentoring and by direct example.

Andre Anders, Senior Scientist, LBNL

André Anders Receives Sugerman Award From Society of Vacuum Coaters

André Anders Receives the 2016 Sugerman Award From Society of Vacuum Coaters.

The Nathaniel H. Sugerman Memorial Award was established in 1992 to commemorate the enduring efforts of Nat Sugerman (1922–1991) in founding, nurturing, and supporting the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC). Nat founded Providence Metallizing Company in 1951 and was a Charter Founder of the SVC and Corporate Sponsor Founder.

The purpose of the Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award is to encourage and recognize distinguished achievement in one or more of the following endeavors:

  • For distinguished services to SVC
  • For noteworthy educational contributions to the vacuum and/or vacuum coating industry
  • For outstanding technical achievement
  • For creative innovation in the development of a product or process pertaining to the vacuum industry

Screenshot of PPG web-based tool, ‘Construct’

PPG Industries Announces On-Line Glazing Tool based on WINDOW

PPG recently announced the availability of a new web-based tool built on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory WINDOW 7.3 data simulation engine and using the IGDB database. Previously PPG included a selection of glazing products with pre-calculated properties on their website which was limited given the wide range of substrates, thicknesses, coatings, and gas fills available. Now an architect or engineer can "build" a virtual IGU (insulating glass unit) of almost any design and determine the thermal and solar optical properties in seconds, without having to learn or use the WINDOW software.  Visit and try it yourself.

Berkeley Lab’s Art Rosenfeld Recognized with Tang Prize for Sustainable Development

Arthur Rosenfeld, known in the field as the “godfather” of energy efficiency, has been honored with the Tang Prize for Sustainable Development for his "lifelong and pioneering innovations in energy efficiency resulting in immense reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions around the world.”

The Tang Prize recognizes individuals or institutions who have made extraordinary contributions to the sustainable development of human societies, especially through groundbreaking innovations in science and technology. The award includes a cash prize of $1.24 million.

See the full story here. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown, China Energy Group leader Lynn Price, and members of the Chinese delegation at the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit in Los Angeles.

Berkeley Lab’s Work for a Greener China Highlighted at U.S.-China Climate Summit

The China Energy Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) recently participated in the two-day U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit in Los Angeles. The Summit fulfills a key element of the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change by Presidents Obama and Xi last November, helping to ensure that the ambitious actions to address climate change that both leaders committed to will be implemented at the state and local level, where they matter most.

China Energy Group Leader Lynn Price spoke at the breakout session on Low Carbon City Planning, describing the Group’s recent finding that 58 percent of China’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are from urban areas. Nan Zhou, Deputy Group Leader of the China Energy Group and Lab lead for the U.S.-China Joint Initiative Clean Energy Research Center (CERC), organized and co-moderated the breakout session on Climate-Smart Buildings and Green Infrastructure along with the Group’s collaborator, Ye Qing of the Shenzhen Institute for Building Research. 

“The China Energy Group has extensive experience working with Chinese institutions and cities to lower their carbon emissions,” Price said. “Now we’re looking forward to joining with others to offer our knowledge and resources as part of the efforts following this Summit to assist China’s cities in peaking their energy-related carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible.”

Solar-LED lanterns provide far more and better light, allowing businesses to stay open later into the evening and improving people's ability to earn a living

Modern Off-Grid Lighting Could Create 2 Million New Jobs in Developing World

Many households in impoverished regions around the world are starting to shift away from inefficient and polluting fuel-based lighting—such as candles, firewood, and kerosene lanterns—to solar-LED systems. While this trend has tremendous environmental benefits, a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that it spurs economic development as well, to the tune of 2 million potential new jobs.

Berkeley Lab researcher Evan Mills, who has been studying lighting in the developing world for more than two decades, has conducted the first global analysis of how the transition to solar-LED lighting will impact employment and job creation. His study was recently published in the journal Energy for Sustainable Development in a paper titled, "Job creation and energy savings through a transition to modern off-grid lighting."

"People like to talk about making jobs with solar energy, but it's rare that the flip side of the question is asked—how many people will lose jobs who are selling the fuels that solar will replace?" said Mills. "We set out to quantify the net job creation. The good news is, we found that we will see many more jobs created than we lose."

Read full article HERE

Berkeley Lab to Investigate Link between Thirdhand Smoke and Cancer

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have been awarded $1.3 million for two sets of studies to better understand the health impacts of thirdhand smoke, the noxious residue that clings to virtually all indoor surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out.

The two three-year grants are from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), which is managed by the University of California and funded by state cigarette taxes. In one set of studies, life science researchers will seek to confirm the link between thirdhand smoke and cancer, identifying the mechanisms and biomarkers. In the second set of studies, environmental chemists will seek to characterize the components of thirdhand smoke, including investigating the differences between atmospheric particulate matter versus that in tobacco smoke.  Read more here

Berkeley Lab researchers found a way to make ruby red coatings as cool as white coatings. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

Fluorescent Ruby Red Roofs Stay as Cool as White

Elementary school science teaches us that in the sun, dark colors get hot while white stays cool. Now new research from Berkeley Lab’s Heat Island Group has found an exception: scientists have determined that certain dark pigments can stay just as cool as white by using fluorescence, the re-emission of absorbed light. More>

Washington Hilton: SEP Platinum Certified Credit: Hilton Worldwide.

Hilton Worldwide achieves Superior Energy Performance (SEP) Certification

Hilton Worldwide, the first hospitality company to achieve Superior Energy Performance® (SEP™) certification from the U.S. Department of Energy, is benefiting from verified facility-wide energy performance improvements of 6.3% to 15.85% for three of their US properties. Read Hilton's full SEP announcement here.

Superior Energy Performance® (SEP™) certifies industrial facilities that implement an energy management system that meets the ISO 50001 global energy management system standard and achieve improved energy performance.

LBNL researchers, led by Aimee McKane, have been instrumental in the development of SEP, providing critical expertise in standards, measurement and verification, workforce competency, and program design. This work builds on Ms. McKane's leadership in the development of ISO 50001.
Additionally, LBNL's Dr. Peter Therkelsen is leading and publishing original analyses based on field data from US industrial facilities implementing SEP.

A thermal image of the Hansen Federal Building in Ogden, Utah, where Berkeley Lab performed a window retrofit study. (Credit: Berkeley Lab Windows and Envelope Materials Group)

Berkeley Lab Awarded DOE Grants for Greener Buildings

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been awarded more than $4 million by the Department of Energy (DOE) to undertake three projects aimed at improving the energy efficiency of buildings, which account for more than 40 percent of the country’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The projects, including a nanoparticle-based super insulation (R. Prasher), a platform for automated building controls (M. Wetter and P. Haves), and an advanced moisture modeling tool (D.Curcija), will help meet the DOE goal to reduce the energy intensity of the U.S. building sector by 30 percent by 2030. On average, nearly a third of the energy used in buildings is wasted. It’s estimated that if the U.S. reduced energy use in buildings by 20 percent, the nation could save nearly $80 billion annually on energy bills.

“Berkeley Lab has been at the forefront of building technologies research for more than 30 years, having pioneered innovations such as efficient lighting, low-emissivity windows, and versatile tools for building designers,” said Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Associate Lab Director for Energy Technologies. “We are continuing to build on that foundation while utilizing more from the science toolkit, such as advanced materials and nanoscience.”

Read more abou the projects HERE.

Berkeley Lab to Investigate Link between Third-hand Smoke and Cancer

Berkeley Lab researchers have been awarded $1.3 million for two sets of studies to better understand the health impacts of third-hand smoke, the noxious residue that clings to virtually all indoor surfaces long after the second-hand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out. Berkeley Lab scientists first sounded the warning on third-hand smoke with a pair of studies in 2010 establishing that nicotine in third-hand smoke can react with common indoor air pollutants to produce dangerous carcinogens.

"These two grants represent the largest annual total in the history of the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) to Berkeley Lab and affirm that we remain on the cutting edge of research in this area," said Berkeley Lab researcher Hugo Destaillats. The team will look at the particulate matter in third-hand smoke, or PM2.5, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in size and also further characterize the composition and chemistry of third-hand smoke.  

Go HERE or check out  for additional information. 

The Portable Window Energy Meter — jointly developed by researchers from Brazil and the United States — can reduce energy losses in buildings by measuring and assessing the energy performance of windows without removing them from their site.

U.S.-Brazil Collaboration Leads to Innovative Device That Reduces Energy Use in Buildings – Device showcased by Berkeley Lab’s Dr. Charlie Curcija at National Fenestration Rating Council Fall Meeting