Don’t forget to turn off the lights next time you leave a room. You’ll make an 83-year-old physicist, with a passion for saving kilowatts, very happy

Do you know what the biggest energy drain is on your house? Well, if you don’t have a hot tub, it’s heating and cooling your house. My head is swimming with energy efficiency facts after producing this week’s QUEST radio piece on efficiency guru Art Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld is retiring, stepping down after two terms on the California Energy Commission. The guy has spent the past thirty five years fighting for us, California’s energy consumers. While electricity consumption has risen, sharply, in the rest of the country, California’s electricity use, per capita, has remained nearly flat since the early 1970’s. It is not that we are any less addicted to our flat screen TVs and personal computers, it’s that the state, thanks in large part to Rosenfeld’s dogged persistence, has put in place some of the strictest energy standards in the world. His passion for saving killowatts has saved billions on utility bills and improved air quality.

As it goes with people who are driven by a cause, the 83-year-old physicist is not really retiring. Rosenfeld will be returning to Lawrence Berkeley National Labs a few days a week to continue his research on low reflective white roof tops. His work has shown white roofs can cut electricity use by 15-percent by reducing the need for air conditioning and they combat climate change at the same time. White roofs are now mandatory on commercial buildings in California, thanks, in part, to Rosenfeld. Check out our radio story on cool roofs.

And by the way, don’t forget to turn off the lights next time you leave a room. You’ll make an 83-year-old physicist, with a passion for saving kilowatts, very happy.

Listen to The Godfather of Green radio report online.

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  • I read a study in Florida that white tile roofs and white metal roofs transferred the least heat load to the structure . White metal was slightly more effective only because at night it radiated heat back out more quickly than the tile did.

Author

Andrea Kissack

Andrea has nearly three decades of experience working as a reporter, anchor, producer and editor for public radio, large market television news and CBS radio. In her current role as KQED’s Sr. Science Editor, Andrea helps lead a talented team covering science, technology, health and the environment for broadcast and digital platforms. Most recently she helped KQED launch a new, multimedia initiative covering the intersection of technology, health and medical science. She has earned a number of accolades for her work including awards from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Associated Press. Her work can be seen, and heard, on a number of networks, Including NPR, PBS, CBS and the BBC.

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