Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tribute to a giant: Art Rosenfeld, the father of energy efficiency

I had the honor and privilege of meeting Art several years ago at the launch of what was then called the Stanford Institute for the Environment. The launch constituted of several days of fascinating world class presentations and conversations about- you guessed it- the environment and climate change. I have great memories of all the speeches but none as vivid as Art’s presentation. Art had very few slides and the ones he had weren’t very polished. However, his knowledge, passion, style and above all humor were absolutely riveting. Bear in mind that Art was talking about how to make cities more energy efficient… I couldn’t wait to meet him. Which I did after the crowd around him had subsided. He generously spent half an hour with me discussing the economic merits of energy efficiency vs. renewables.

A few years later, I called him at the California Energy Commission to help me launch the then fledgling Clean Tech Open - The mission of the California Clean Tech Open is to encourage the development of clean technology companies that foster a healthy natural environment. Yet again, I was struck by his generosity and kindness. He took the time to understand what we wanted to achieve, provided guidance and made many invaluable introductions at the C-PUC, LBNL and PG&E. He also accepted very graciously to be a keynote speaker at the launch of the Clean Tech Open at San Francisco city hall, on March 21,2006. He has remained a staunch supporter of the Clean Tech Open and I could not thank him enough for his support. Art will once again be the keynote speaker at the Feb 26, 2010 national launch of the competition!

Art received his Ph. D. in Physics under Enrico Fermi and later formed the Center for Building Science at LBNL. He received the Enrico Fermi award in 2006 and co-founded the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. He is stepping down from the California Energy Commission and he will be sorely missed.

Recently I installed a “cool roof” on my own house, an action of which Art is a big proponent. My daughters love our new “cool roof”, as well as, the many other energy efficient design features we are incorporating into our current home renovation. Thanks to people like Art, with his passion, vision and incredible intellect kids today are more inspired and aware of energy use issues than ever before.

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