Art Rosenfeld, Remembering a Pioneer

In the following post, PG&E’s Chief Sustainability Officer Melissa Lavinson remembers Art Rosenfeld, considered California’s godfather of energy efficiency.

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The study and practice of energy efficiency wasn’t always the established, solid-science field that it is today. In fact, 40 years ago it practically didn’t exist.

Art Rosenfeld received the 2011 Medal for Technology and Innovation from President Obama. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

It began simply enough, when Art Rosenfeld wondered how much energy he could save by turning off the lights in his office at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. With that step, Art launched a pioneering career, one in which he would become known as the godfather of energy efficiency thanks to his leadership in engineering and policy advances that changed the world for the better.

Sadly, Art passed away last week. But his vision and legacy live on in California and at PG&E, where we work every day to put deeds to his vision by working with our customers to save energy and create a more sustainable future.

With energy efficiency at the center of California’s energy policy, our state’s per capita energy usage has remained nearly flat over the past 40 years – while use across the United States is 50 percent higher than in the 1970s. That spectacular accomplishment is rightly known as the “Rosenfeld effect,” in honor of the man whose foresight, research and commitment made it possible.

Today, we remember Art’s contributions and accomplishments. Today, tomorrow and in the future, we honor him by continuing his work.

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Tim Fitzpatrick is PG&E’s vice president of corporate relations and chief communications officer. Follow Tim on Twitter @PGE_Tim.

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