May 23, 2001


Lab news releases

Sign up to receive our news releases via email

Science Beat: most recent science news here

Berkeley Lab home page

Lab A to Z website index

Search Lab science articles archive
 Advanced Search  
Search Tips

BERKELEY, CA — Energy efficiency researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory today released a new web site, The 20% Solution, that can help Californians reduce energy use by 20 percent or more.


The site, which was developed by scientists in the Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division, identifies energy-efficiency measures and their predicted percentage savings.

To use the site, residents simply identify their region of California, the size of their house or apartment, and whether or not they have air conditioning. The site then suggests 10 to 20 different ways to save energy this summer. The suggestions are in three parts: no-cost measures, low-cost measures and more expensive measures.

"I am encouraged that the Department’s national laboratories can play a substantial role in reducing the demand for energy in California, especially as the State faces severe energy supply challenges during the coming summer months," commented Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "I would urge consumers to look seriously at The 20% Solution web site and take advantage of its recommendations whenever possible."

California's 20/20 Rebate Program offers a 20 percent rebate on electricity bills from June through September 2001 for customers of Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison who use at least 20 percent less electricity than they consumed in each of the four comparable months during 2000. The program is described in the Governor’s Flex Your Power Campaign site.

"With the potential for weeks of rolling blackouts this summer," says Division Director Mark Levine, "we decided to focus the Lab’s expertise on helping California residents identify simple, easy-to-implement ways to reduce energy use and avoid blackouts this summer."

"The suggestions in the web site are best-practice measures for dwellings in California, tailored to the diverse climate zones in the state," says Jon Koomey, head of the End-Use Energy Forecasting Group and leader of the site's development team. "Their effectiveness at reducing energy use has been demonstrated both by analytical models and by the real experiences of researchers and builders in real homes."

Following the site’s advice cannot guarantee that a particular household or apartment will save 20 percent of its energy because every dwelling is different and similar buildings or appliances can vary in energy use. Savings measures, especially those that depend on human operators to implement daily, need to be applied consistently. Nonetheless, the measures described in the site have proven track records according to research at Berkeley Lab and other institutions.

Homeowners and apartment dwellers interested in customized suggestions on how to retrofit and remodel for energy efficiency can also consult two other web sites developed at Berkeley Lab, the Home Energy Saver and the Home Improvement Tool. These sites are designed for simple use, but require users to input specific information about their homes.

Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California.

Additional information: