In China, you want to live on one of the top four floors of a building.

Many Chinese high rises put solar hot water heaters on top of their roofs and provide free hot water to tenants, according to Art Rosenfeld, the former California Energy Commissioner who is often described as the father of energy efficiency. However, the heaters generally only supply enough hot water for the top four floors, forcing everyone else to use gas or electricity.

This is the second part of our interview with Rosenfeld. In today's segment, he discusses solar, nuclear, electric cars and employment.

"We've got to stop quit worshipping Wall Street," he says.

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," he told me in 2006. "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. The results can only partly be attributed to the "Rosenfeld Effect." Still, the impact has been huge. Modern refrigerators consume half or less than that of fridges that were produced back in the '70s, hold more food and cost less when adjusted for inflation. His work has likely been responsible for hundreds of billions in energy savings.

 Back in the 70s, pilot lights consumed close to 10 percent of the energy in homes. Electronic ignition has capped that waste.

Rosenfeld is now in his 80s, but is still publishing papers. He was one of the easiest choices for the Greentech Hall of Fame.

We sat down with him recently at the Emerging Technologies Summit in Sacramento for a series of videos. (thanks to Jonathan Livingston for setting it up.)