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Arthur Rosenfeld (1926 - 2017)

AP / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / Roy Kaltschmidt

Arthur Rosenfeld (1926 - 2017)

Art Rosenfeld, a California physicist whose extraordinary contributions to sustainable development led him to be known as the Godfather of Energy Efficiency, died Jan. 27, 2017, in Berkeley, California, according to multiple news sources. He was 90.

Rosenfeld's death wasn't publicized until this week, however.

Rosenfeld created new standards for energy efficiency in California that later became internationally known. His work contributed to the development of compact fluorescent lamps and other low-energy electric lights, energy efficient refrigerators, and windows injected with argon gas to prevent heat from escaping one's house.


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Arthur H. Rosenfeld was born June 22, 1926, in Birmingham, Alabama. After receiving his doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago in 1954, he worked nearly 20 years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Rosenfeld also was a professor physics at the University of California at Berkeley.

In 1994, he served in President Bill Clinton's administration as a senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2000, he was appointed to the California Energy Commission; he served in that capacity until he retired in 2010.

In 2016, Rosenfeld was named the Tang Prize laureate in sustainable development in recognition of his "lifelong and pioneering innovations in energy efficiency resulting in immense reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions."

Reacting to Rosenfeld's death, California Gov. Jerry Brown said, "Art Rosenfeld helped make California the world leader in energy efficiency. His pathbreaking ideas transformed our energy sector from one of massive waste to increasingly elegant efficiency."

The consumer advocate and author Ralph Nader, in a post on his blog, praised Rosenfeld as a "true public citizen" and said millions upon millions of people "are in debt to him."

"Without doubt, Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld knew more and did more about energy conservation and efficiency than anyone else in the country," Nader wrote. "He succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations, especially in the state of California."

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