Arthur H. Rosenfeld, an energy pioneer often referred to as the "Godfather of Energy Efficiency," passed away at age 90 in Berkeley, California late last week.

Speaking on behalf of the California Public Utilities Commission, Commissioner Carla Peterman said, “Art was a true champion for energy efficiency, science, and improving the planet. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on."

As GTM reported, "Back in the 1970s, Rosenfeld, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley Lab (and Enrico Fermi's last grad student), determined that the power consumption in California and the nation would soon outstrip our ability to produce it. He kicked off a massive effort to get the state to pass efficiency regulations. Appliance makers fought vigorously, but California passed appliance and building regulations (Title 20 and Title 24) anyway."

"They all claimed it was the [expletive] end of civilization as we knew it," Rosenfeld told GTM's Michael Kanellos. "Autos were getting 14 miles a gallon. Energy efficiency wasn't part of the American ethic whatsoever."

The result? Per-capita power consumption has remained relatively flat in California but nearly doubled in the rest of the country in a phenomenon partially attributed to the "Rosenfeld Effect." Modern refrigerators consume half or less the energy consumed by fridges back in the '70s, hold more food and cost less when adjusted for inflation. His work has likely been responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in energy savings."

In 1974, Rosenfeld established the Center for Building Science at Berkeley Lab, which he led until 1994.

Rosenfeld served as a California Energy Commissioner and mentored former Energy Secretary Steve Chu and Arun Majumdar, the UC Berkeley professor who administered ARPA-E. Rosenfeld was still publishing papers well into his eighties.  

Julia Pyper just reported, "Last weekend, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a government-wide freeze on new or pending regulations, including four nearly finished Energy Department energy efficiency standards, The Washington Post reports. The regulations deal with an array of products, including portable air conditioners and commercial boilers."

A measurement unit, the “Rosenfeld,” has been suggested that would refer to yearly electricity savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours -- roughly the equivalent of one coal plant.

“Art Rosenfeld helped make California the world leader in energy efficiency,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in a statement. “His pathbreaking ideas transformed our energy sector from one of massive waste to increasingly elegant efficiency. I will miss him.”

May all of our lives be as long and as efficient