The Rosenfeld Effect

The Rosenfeld Effect

The Rosenfeld Effect


“Why do some U.S states like California have a much lower energy consumption rate than others?”


Hello everyone, in honor of my recent acceptance to work in the buildings energy department at Berkeley Lab, I’ve decided to write about one of its most important humanistic accomplishments.


In the midst of the 1970s, there was an energy crisis happening all around the world. In response to the outcome of the 1973 war, OPEC states had begun an oil embargo to the U.S and its allies. This caused energy prices to skyrocket and supply to dwindle, having tantalizing effects on the world economy. In the U.S, these wounds were worsened by the continuous increase in energy that had been running for decades. Governments had looked to all sorts of solutions. In California, then (and now present) Governor Jerry Brown was considering building a series of new power plants to revive energy production. But he was soon approached by a prominent scientist from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory named Arthur Rosenfeld, who had a completely different but more logical solution. Instead of creating more energy production, why not simply consume less of it? Once adopting this idea, the state of California experienced something very peculiar. As the energy consumption of the rest of the nation rose with time, its own energy levels have stayed relatively flat since the 1970s! This empirical fact is known as The Rosenfeld Effect and is a prominent example of the success of energy efficiency.


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