Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Web site advises Californians how to slash electricity use and receive utility bill rebate

May 22, 2000

BERKELEY, CA -- Energy efficiency researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory today released a new web site, "The 20 Percent Solution," that can help Californians reduce energy use by 20 percent or more. The site is online at

The site, which was developed by scientists in the Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, identifies energy-efficiency measures and their predicted percentage savings.

To use the site, residents simply identify their region of California, the size of their house or apartment, and whether or not they have air conditioning. The site then suggests 10 to 20 different ways to save energy this summer. The suggestions are in three parts: no-cost measures, low-cost measures and more expensive measures.

"I am encouraged that the Department's national laboratories can play a substantial role in reducing the demand for energy in California, especially as the State faces severe electricity supply challenges during the coming summer months," said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "I urge consumers to look seriously at 'The 20 Percent Solution' web site and take advantage of its recommendations whenever possible."

California's 20/20 Rebate Program offers a 20 percent rebate on electricity bills from June through September 2001 for customers of Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison who use at least 20 percent less electricity than they consumed in each of the four comparable months during 2000. (See for details.)

"With the potential for weeks of rolling blackouts this summer," says Division Director Mark Levine, "we decided to focus the Lab's expertise on helping California residents identify simple, easy-to-implement ways to reduce energy use and avoid blackouts this summer."

"The suggestions in the web site are best-practice measures for dwellings in California, tailored to the diverse climate zones in the state," says Jon Koomey, head of the End-Use Energy Forecasting Group and leader of the site's development team. "Their effectiveness at reducing energy use has been demonstrated both by analytical models and by the real experiences of researchers and builders in real homes."

Following the site's advice cannot guarantee that a particular household or apartment will save 20 percent of its energy because every dwelling is different and similar buildings or appliances can vary in energy use. Savings measures, especially those that depend on human operators to implement daily, need to be applied consistently. Nonetheless, the measures described in the site have proven track records according to research at Berkeley Lab and other institutions.

Homeowners and apartment dwellers interested in customized suggestions on how to retrofit and remodel for energy efficiency can also consult two other web sites developed at Berkeley Lab, the Home Energy Saver at and the Home Improvement Tool at These sites are designed for simple use, but require users to input specific information about their homes.

Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California.
For additional information, see The Twenty Percent Solution site at

DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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