E&E's Art Rosenfeld appointed DOE senior advisor

April 22, 1994

By Lynn Yarris, [email protected]

Art Rosenfeld, a physicist in the Energy and Environment Division and head of LBL's Center for Building Science, has been named senior advisor to DOE's Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Christine Ervin. Although his new appointment is effective July 1, Rosenfeld will fill the post until then as a consultant on loan from LBL and UC Berkeley, where he is still a professor of physics.

"I see this move to Washington, D.C., as my third career," says Rosenfeld. He spent the first 20 years of his professional life as a high-energy physicist before switching to the development of energy efficient technologies for buildings in 1973 (after the OPEC oil embargo). "It is my ambition to have a fourth career back at Berkeley doing research at the end of the Clinton Administration's first term."

Rosenfeld's duties in Washington will be extensive. Nearly half of his time will be spent serving on President Clinton's National Science and Technology Council. Rosenfeld will be representing DOE as co-chair (along with Richard Wright of the Department of Commerce) of the sub-committee on Construction and Buildings. The goal is to have in place by the year 2000 advanced prototype technologies that cut in half the energy consumption and waste production of buildings. These prototypes would also improve air quality and comfort, which in turn would help boost occupant productivity and health.

"The annual expense for constructing and operating buildings in this country represents approximately one-fourth of our gross national product, or more than one trillion dollars," says Rosenfeld. "To address this trillion-dollar item, we spend only about one billion dollars on all private and public research. This one billion dollars badly needs attention and growth."

Rosenfeld's new position won't end his involvement with "Cool Communities," a moonlight project of his own that he started at LBL as "heat islands." The project is now officially "Action 9" on Clinton's Climate Change Action Plan. Rosenfeld will be the national spokesperson for the program, which calls for rolling back temperatures of major U.S. cities to 1970 levels by the year 2000.

"The program I am leaving at LBL has a growing multimillion dollar budget and is in marvelous shape," Rosenfeld says. "It has been a pleasure working with Hashem Akbari, Haider Taha, and many students."

Rosenfeld will also help steer through the political process a proposed new "government-sponsored enterprise" (called EFFIE MAE for Energy Efficiency Mortgage and Loan Agency) that would guarantee loans for retrofitting energy-inefficient public buildings, including federal, state, and local (hospitals, schools, office buildings).

"As soon as Clinton and Gore were elected, Evan Mills (assistant head of the Center for Building Science) and I wrote letters to them about public buildings, most of which are a disgrace in terms of energy efficiency," says Rosenfeld. "Instead of the $25 billion that we now spend every year for the energy bills of public building, EFFIE MAE will allow us to spend $25 to $50 billion once on renovations to reduce future spending."

Rosenfeld will also be working to bring together what has traditionally been the separate energy conservation programs of DOE and the Environmental Protection agency.

"We need to couple EPA's wonderful outreach programs with DOE's research and development expertise," he says. "DOE has the technological knowledge and EPA knows how to sell it."