Today at Berkeley Lab

ETA’s Ellen Thomas and Allison Huey Pave Own Way as Nature Guides

As full-time administrators in the Building Technology & Urban Systems Division, Ellen Thomas (right) and Allison Huey are logistics experts who can make complicated schedules and conference coordination seem effortless and smooth. But on the weekends, they volunteer as Nature Guides for Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Martin Griffin Preserve in Marin County. More>

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A Seaweed Derivative Could Be Just What Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Need

Lithium-sulfur batteries have great potential as a low-cost, high-energy, energy source for both vehicle and grid applications. However, they suffer from significant capacity fading. Now Gao Liu of ETA, working with Jinghua Guo of the ALS, has made a surprising discovery that could fix this problem. Their research was published in Nano Energy. More>

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Real Estate Professionals Embrace Solar Power

Because solar adds value to homes, real estate agents need a way to fairly value solar homes and make sure house hunters can find key solar system information. New data standards from Berkeley Lab will enable thousands of California realtors to enter details about solar-powered homes into real estate listings for the first time. More>

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ETA’s Margaret Taylor Keeps Stress at Bay With Ballet

Since her first ballet class at age four, Taylor — an expert in clean energy innovation decision science for the Energy Technologies Area — dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina. But while juggling both dance and academics in college, she realized she had to make a choice. Science won out as a career, but she never gave up her love of ballet. More>

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A Race to Develop Pollution Sensing Tech Plays Out in Oakland

Google Street View cars with pollution sensors are mapping pollution in Oakland, block by block, joining another assortment of low-cost sensors monitoring a wider array of gases and particles from the roofs of schools, museums, and hospitals in the Bay Area. The latter effort, led by ETA’s Ronald Cohen, is called BEACO2N (BErkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network). More>

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Sensor Suitcase Cuts Power Bills 10% in Small Commercial Buildings

Jointly developed with the Pacific Northwest National Lab, the Sensor Suitcase is a portable case that contains easy-to-use sensors and other equipment that make it possible for anyone to identify energy-saving opportunities. It has now been licensed by two companies. Listen to an interview with Jessica Granderson, the lead software developer. More>

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Berkeley Lab Helps California Get to Zero Net Energy Homes

Two projects aimed at helping California meet its ambitious goals to reduce energy consumption in buildings are receiving $2 million from the California Energy Commission. The projects are led by Max Wei and Brett Singer of the Energy Technologies Area. More>

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Creating Buildings That Breathe Cleanly to Limit Indoor Air Pollution

The increase in indoor air pollution is an unfortunate side effect of well-meaning efforts to reduce energy use. As buildings are made more and more airtight to increase efficiency, they can trap dangerous chemicals and gases. “We need to make our buildings more energy efficient,” says ETA’s William Fisk, “but we need to do it in a way that protects our indoor environment.” More>

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Not All Cool Pavements Are Created Equal

Cool pavements can help keep cities cool, right? Yes, but according to new research by ETA’s Heat Island Group, which included a 50-year life cycle assessment of different pavement types, many reflective pavements have some unexpected drawbacks relative to conventional pavements when considering the entire life cycle of the materials. More> 

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Postdoc Dimitrios Panagopoulos Wins Scholarship

Panagopoulos (Energy Technologies Area) received a $35,000 scholarship from the Sweden-America Foundation to support his work at the Lab and in collaborations with Swedish scientists. The research focuses on human exposure to chemicals from artificial turf in sports arenas. The Foundation supports the exchange of science between Sweden, the U.S. and Canada. More>

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