Institute for Energy Efficiency launched at UCSB
Santa Barbara, California, February 28, 2008 A new Institute for Energy Efficiency was launched today at UC Santa Barbara. The UCSB institute is under the direction of Professor John Bowers of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and will involve approximately 50 faculty members from multiple disciplines on the campus.
“We’re already spending more than $10 million a year on energy efficiency research at UCSB,” stated Bowers at the launch announcement. “The Institute will provide a unifying and very synergistic environment for our work, which is being conducted in many different departments and centers on our campus.” Bowers went on to note, “As an institute, we will triple our research funding over the next three years, which will dramatically accelerate the development and commercialization of key energy-saving technologies. This increased funding will also attract and support additional leading thinkers in energy efficiency.”
Dean Matthew Tirrell of the College of Engineering conceived of the Institute and saw it as leveraging UCSB’s expertise in multiple energy-related fields, most of which are targeted at slowing the growth in the global demand for energy. “Our goal is, most simply, to facilitate a good quality of life in both developed and developing economies while reducing the impact of that quality of life on the environment,” commented Tirrell.
The areas of technology on which the UCSB Institute for Energy Efficiency will focus initially include Lighting and Displays; Computing and Networks; Energy Conversion, Transmission, and Storage; Dynamics of Energy Efficiency; and Transportation Materials. UCSB is an acknowledged leader each of these fields. In addition to its multiple research initiatives, the Institute will sponsor international conferences and symposia, and will host residencies for visiting scholars in energy efficiency.
Initial “seed money” support for the Institute was provided by Jeff Henley, Dan Burnham, John Marren, Fredric Steck, and Phil White, all prominent UCSB donors who will be active in the Institute’s ambitious fundraising efforts. Long-term plans for the Institute include a broad range of programs and relationships with government agencies, foundations, individuals, and corporations.