QCAN, Library to Host Online Lecture by Efficient Buildings Pioneer

Ron JudkoffAugust 24, 2020

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday September 15, 2020, Quincy Climate Action Network and the Thomas Crane Public Library will cosponsor an online lecture by Ron Judkoff, who recently retired as chief architectural engineer of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a US Department of Energy facility.

The lecture is free, and all are invited to watch and listen via the library’s Facebook page; on its YouTube channel; or via the Zoom meeting platform. The Zoom meeting ID is 873-8149-9949, and you can access the audio over the phone by dialing 646 558.8656.

“Ron is a pioneer of efficient design,” said David Reich, QCAN’s board chair. “His team at NREL invented the concept of net-zero buildings, which produce as much energy as they consume, using ultra-efficient design and renewable energy technologies. The team also provided energy design expertise for several of the world’s first net-zero buildings, winning numerous awards along the way.” In addition, during his 40-plus years at NREL, Judkoff led the development of new efficiency retrofits for mobile homes that have found their way into the federal standards for manufactured buildings, and he led the team that developed the first PC modeling system for building efficiency and a test to debug other building efficiency models.

Judkoff’s lecture will cover both renewable energy technologies and ultra-efficient building techniques developed at NREL, with a special focus on the way that advances in both fields have dramatically lowered the cost of efficient building construction and renewable power generation. “Excel Energy is the big power company in my area,” said Judkoff, who lives near the NREL campus in Colorado. “Recently they solicited bids from electricity suppliers. Bids for wind and solar power came in so low that the company decided it was no longer economical to continue operating some of their existing coal-fired generating plants. And as soon as battery storage becomes a little less expensive, there will be no more reason to build any new gas-fired plants, either.”

Judkoff predicted that, assuming a reasonably even playing field, renewables and efficiency will increasingly displace fossil fuels. “As long as politics don’t overwhelm the free market,” he said, “economics will win out. The only missing element is cheap battery storage, and the price for that has come way down and promises to come down further.”

The author or coauthor of 60 conference papers, 42 technical reports, and 13 journal articles, Judkoff has lectured at the United Nations and many professional conferences. His work at NREL led to two patents, one for a super-efficient air-conditioning system and another for a technology that deactivates bioaerosols, including deadly viruses, while providing air-conditioning.