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Data Centers Continue to Proliferate While Their Energy Use Plateaus

United States Data Center Energy Usage Report authors (from left) Dale Sartor, Richard Brown, Arman Shehabi, Sarah Smith. Energy Technologies Area. 06/172016

As the number of data centers continues to increase in the United States, the good news is that they are becoming much more energy efficient. A new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that electricity consumption by data centers nationwide, after rising rapidly for more than a decade, started to plateau in 2010 and has remained steady since, at just under 2 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption.

Roof Racks a Drag on Fuel Economy

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As you get ready to hit the road this summer, with the kids loaded inside and the bikes strapped to the roof of your car, you may want to stop and consider that the roof rack on your car may be costing you as much as 25 percent more in gas.

Berkeley Lab Projects Could Save California More Than $2 Billion Annually in Energy Costs

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Plug loads, or devices that plug into the wall, are responsible for at least 25 percent of electricity use in California buildings. And not only is that percentage growing, it’s a hard number to manage.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Developing Paint-on Coating for Energy Efficient Windows

Berkeley Lab scientists (from left) Raymond Weitekamp, Arman Shehabi, and Steve Selkowitz will use the Berkeley Lab windows test lab to develop a paintable heat-reflective coating for low-cost energy efficient windows. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

It’s estimated that 10 percent of all the energy used in buildings in the U.S. can be attributed to window performance, costing building owners about $50 billion annually, yet the high cost of replacing windows or retrofitting them with an energy efficient coating is a major deterrent. Berkeley Lab researchers are seeking to address this problem with creative chemistry—a polymer heat-reflective coating that can be painted on at one-tenth the cost.

Berkeley Lab Opens State-of-the-Art Facility for Computational Science

Berkeley Lab's Wang Hall - computer research facility - exterior photos taken July 6, 2015.

A new center for advancing computational science and networking at research institutions and universities across the country opened today at Berkeley Lab. Named Wang Hall, the facility will house the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), one of the world’s leading supercomputing centers for open science, and be the center of operations for DOE’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), the fastest network dedicated to science.

Gaming Computers Offer Huge, Untapped Energy Savings Potential

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In the first study of its kind, Berkeley Lab researcher Evan Mills co-authored an investigation of the aggregate global energy use of personal computers designed for gaming—including taking direct measurements using industry benchmarking tools—and found that gamers can achieve energy savings of more than 75 percent by changing some settings and swapping out some components, while also improving reliability and performance. This corresponds to a potential estimated savings of $18 billion per year globally by 2020, or 120 terawatt hours (TWh).

Berkeley Lab Releases Most Comprehensive Analysis of Electricity Reliability Trends

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In the most comprehensive analysis of electricity reliability trends in the United States, researchers at Berkeley Lab and Stanford University have found that, while, on average, the frequency of power outages has not changed in recent years, the total number of minutes customers are without power each year has been increasing over time.

Berkeley Lab Study Finds that Future Deployment of Distributed Solar Hinges on Electricity Rate Design

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Future distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment levels are highly sensitive to retail electricity rate design, according to a newly released report by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The study also explores the feedback effects between retail electricity rates and PV deployment, and suggests that increased solar deployment can lead to changes in PV compensation levels that either accelerate or dampen further deployment.

Counting All Costs, Berkeley Lab Researchers Find that Saving Energy Is Still Cheap

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Researchers at Berkeley Lab have conducted the most comprehensive study yet of the full cost of saving electricity by U.S. utility efficiency programs and now have an answer: 4.6 cents. That’s the average total cost of saving a kilowatt-hour in 20 states from 2009 to 2013, according to a new Berkeley Lab report. To arrive at that average, researchers collected and analyzed several hundred regulatory documents filed in each state by utilities and other administrators of efficiency programs that are funded by utility customers.

From the Lab to Your Digital Device, Quantum Dots Have Made Quantum Leaps

The TV on the right using Nanosys’ quantum dot technology shows a 50% wider range of colors than the standard white LED set on the right. (Courtesy Nanosys)

Berkeley Lab’s quantum dots have not only found their way into tablets, computer screens, and TVs, they are also used in biological and medical imaging tools, and now Paul Alivisatos’ lab is exploring them for solar cell as well as brain imaging applications.