Dr Arthur H Rosenfeld, the scientist and energy policy expert who helped turn California into a global leader on the efficient use of electricity, will be honored with a new measurement unit to describe energy savings, under a proposal published today, Tuesday 9 March 2010, in IOP Publishing's Environmental Research Letters.

In the proposal more than 50 leading climate scientists, policy analysts and energy-policy veterans from 26 institutions from around the world are suggesting the "Rosenfeld" as the new unit for carbon reduction and energy saving, in honour of Rosenfeld, whose work on energy efficiency and utility policy has contributed to major changes in energy policy across the US and around the world.

The proposed Rosenfeld unit represents savings of 3 billion kWh per year at the utility meter, the amount needed to replace the annual generation from a single existing 500-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant. This is the equivalent of the amount of electricity used by a US city with a population of 250,000 people.

In addition to the electricity savings, a Rosenfeld represents 3 million metric tonnes of avoided carbon dioxide emissions annually, ensuring that electricity-savings estimates can be accurately compared with each other.

The proposal will be highlighted at the Rosenfeld Symposium on "The Next Generation of Energy Efficiency", which is taking place today at the Californian UC Davis Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and will be attended by leading energy experts and state government representatives.

Prof. Dan Kammen, editor-in-chief of Environmental Research Letters and a co-author of the "Rosenfeld" paper, says: "I'm thrilled to see this metric introduced through our journal, both because we are an outlet for rapid publication of key sustainability science findings, but also because Art Rosenfeld has been a personal mentor and a source of inspiration.

The Rosenfeld unit highlights both how polluting conventional coal-fired power plants are, and how much work is needed to shift that generation to low-carbon, sustainable sources."