LBNL Open House on Saturday 10/2

Image credit: LBNL website

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, located up in the hills overlooking Berkeley, California, is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 2.

Ever wonder how biofuels are produced, cool roofs and smart windows reduce energy use, the Internet was created, or supernovas are discovered? Families, community members, and others who want to learn the answers to these and other scientific questions are invited to attend Berkeley Lab’s Open House.

Visitors can talk directly with scientists conducting cutting-edge research, check out a cosmic ray detector, sequence DNA, create and measure their own seismic waves, build a motor at the Family Adventure Zone, or take a tour of the Advanced Light Source, one of the world’s brightest sources of ultraviolet and soft x-ray beams, among numerous other activities. Performances, displays, demonstrations, lectures, tours and food vendors will also be featured.

It is important to note that registration is required for everyone interested in attending. There are two sessions, morning and afternoon. More details are available here.

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The House of the Future?


In Berkeley, we are fortunate to have such events as Science at the Theater, where Lawrence Berkeley National Lab researchers give talks on their work at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The lectures are free and get a pretty sizeable audience. The lectures are recorded and put on YouTube.

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(The video can also be watched here – the technical stuff starts at about 10 minutes in.)

On May 10, 2010, I was in the audience as LBNL folks talked about their vision of the house of the future:

Learn what it will take to create tomorrow’s net-zero energy home as scientists reveal the secrets of cool roofs, smart windows, and computer-driven energy control systems.

The net-zero energy home
Scientists are working to make tomorrow’s homes more than just energy efficient — they want them to be zero energy. Iain Walker, a scientist in the Lab’s Energy Performance of Buildings Group, will discuss what it takes to develop net-zero energy houses that generate as much energy as they use through highly aggressive energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy generation.

Talking back to the grid
Imagine programming your house to use less energy if the electricity grid is full or price are high. Mary Ann Piette, deputy director of Berkeley Lab’s building technology department and director of the Lab’s Demand Response Research Center, will discuss how new technologies are enabling buildings to listen to the grid and automatically change their thermostat settings or lighting loads, among other demands, in response to fluctuating electricity prices.

The networked (and energy efficient) house
In the future, your home’s lights, climate control devices, computers, windows, and appliances could be controlled via a sophisticated digital network. If it’s plugged in, it’ll be connected. Bruce Nordman, an energy scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Energy End-Use Forecasting group, will discuss how he and other scientists are working to ensure these networks help homeowners save energy.

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner also spoke at the beginning, about energy in buildings and RECO programs.

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