The Global Energy Prize laureate 2011
THE MAN WHO TURNED OFF THE LIGHTS
Arthur Rosenfeld’s genius was in successfully changing people’s minds and attitude toward energy saving.
Dr. Rosenfeld’s energy source can be found in every house, enterprise and socket. This is the energy we’ve managed to save instead of wasting. It is called Energy Efficiency and no special equipment, trained staff, excavations, power plants or derricks are needed for its generation. Its production technique can be described by the word “avoid”. To avoid, refrain and decline. It includes new technologies which enable to spend less electricity for industriIRINA al processes, modern efficient household appliances, construction materials, which conserve heat or coolness (which is relevant in particular for California, the native state of Arthur Rosenfeld). But most importantly, it includes modern habits of people who preserve energy and keep records of how much energy they use. It means that we ourselves are the source. It turns out, that the saved kilowatts can help to preserve millions and billions in monetary form, avoid building new power plants which require fuel. A non-built power plant will not produce carbon dioxide and thus, will weaken the green house effect. Dr. Rosenfeld liked to talk about his turning point, a 1973 November day which divided his life into two parts: “before” and “after”. At the time he was a successful physicist with an outstanding scientific record and took part in prestigious projects which decades after will be called historical. At that 1973 November evening, Arthur Rosenfeld, an experimental physicist with nineteen years of experience and the head of an elite university laboratory, was working long hours when everyone else had already left the laboratory. When leaving, he decided to switch off the lights not only in his office but in the whole laboratory. “It was not so easy. The switches were hidden behind books, drawers and posters. I had to spend almost twenty minutes on it”, he would recall later. Having done that, the scientist decided to calculate how much energy in gallons is wasted in lights during the 60-hour absence of employees at the weekends