The Godfather of Energy Efficiency Gets A Unit
from the offers-you-can't-refuse dept
A group of scientists has proposed a unit of energy efficiency to be named after Arthur Rosenfeld. The Rosenfeld unit will be defined as the electricity savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours per year — an amount that is roughly equal to the annual production of a 500 megawatt coal-fired power plant. This efficiency unit is dedicated to Rosenfeld’s long career in energy analysis and energy standards which have resulted in billions of dollars in energy savings. While this somewhat esoteric unit may not catch on as a mainstream concept, Rosenfeld also has the Rosenfeld Effect named after him (which describes the phenomenon that California’s electricity use per capita has remained relatively constant from 1973 to 2006 while that figure has risen more than 50% for the rest of the US). Additionally, there’s also Rosenfeld’s Law which states that the energy required to generate one dollar of GDP has decreased by about one percent per year since 1845.
From 1845 to the present, the amount of energy required to produce the same amount of gross national product has steadily decreased at the rate of about 1 percent per year. This is not quite as spectacular as Moore’s Law of integrated circuits, but it has been tested over a longer period of time. One percent per year yields a factor of 2.7 when compounded over 100 years. It took 56 BTUs (59,000 joules) of energy consumption to produce one (1992) dollar of GDP in 1845. By 1998, the same dollar required only 12.5 BTUs (13,200 joules).
Rosenfeld conducted much of his research work in California, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu has called Rosenfeld a hero of his. Now, if only the beneficial effects of energy efficiency could spread beyond California and reduce the Rosenfeld Effect.