It all started during the 1973 energy crisis, when scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory managed by the University of California, began to explore ways to improve energy efficiency in buildings and industry. Since then, Berkeley Lab has become a world leader in developing technologies and standards that have slashed energy costs by billions of dollars and helped bring energy-efficient products to your home. That same drive to bring energy efficiency to all facets of our lives continues today.
AT BERKELEY LAB WE'VE:
Turned windows into energy savers.
Americans save billions of dollars in energy bills each year thanks to a Lab-developed window coating that prevents heat from entering in the summer and escaping in the winter. More than half of all windows sold each year have this coating.
Pitted cool roofs against global warming.
The Lab leads the way in analyzing and implementing cool roofing materials, which reflect sunlight, lower surface temperature, and slash cooling costs. Think globally: If all the world’s roofs and pavement used cool materials, the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would be equivalent to taking the world’s 600 million cars off the road for 18 years.
Given fluorescent lights their big break.
Chances are you’re reading this using energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, and chances are those lights use electronic ballasts, which control the current flowing through the light. Berkeley Lab developed the ballast in the 1970s with the lighting industry. A 2001 study found that electronic ballasts sold through 2005 would provide $15 billion in energy savings.
Made appliances pull their weight.
U.S. consumers save $7 billion each year thanks to Lab scientists who helped to develop the federal government’s energy efficiency standards for appliances. And those Energy Star labels you see on appliances? The Lab helped to implement those too.
Built a better battery.
A new family of long-lasting and cost-effective rechargeable batteries was made possible when Lab scientists invented a novel class of solid polymer cathodes. Now, Lab scientists are developing long-life, safe batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Given buildings an energy makeover.
The Lab wrote the book, or program rather, when it comes to wringing every penny out of a building’s energy use. Software developed at Berkeley Lab is used worldwide to audit a structure’s energy consumption. If you’ve set foot in the San Francisco Airport, Sears Tower, or the Nestle Headquarters in Switzerland, you’ve experienced energy savings thanks to Berkeley Lab.
Helped bring energy efficiency to China.
Since 1988, Lab scientists have worked to make the world’s second largest energy consumer after the U.S. as energy efficient as possible. The energy labels and appliance standards, developed with considerable support from Berkeley Lab, will reduce carbon emissions in China by about 9.1 billion tons between 2009 and 2030. The Lab has also helped improve energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings, and industries such as cement manufacturing — proving that a booming economy and energy efficiency can go hand-in-hand.
Developed the Home Energy Saver.
We designed the fi rst energy auditing program on the Web that allows anyone to conduct an energy audit of their house or apartment and obtain energy-efficiency recommendations for saving money on energy bills.
Made solar energy less costly.
The combination of semiconductor nanotechnology with plastics created a new generation of cheaper and easier to manufacture photovoltaic device, bringing the promise of cost-competitive solar energy one step closer.
Cleaned up combustion.
An ultra-low emissions combustion technology for burners in industrial heaters and in gas turbines for electricity production owes its origins to an innovative combustion method discovered at Berkeley Lab. The method burns ultra lean flames that emit very low levels of pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen.
Harnessed the heat lost during the production of electricity.
Energy now lost as heat during the production of electricity could be harnessed through the use of silicon nanowires synthesized via a technique developed by Berkeley Lab scientists. Potential applications of this technology include hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars and personal power-jackets that could use heat from the human body to recharge cell-phones and other electronic devices.