Scientist Honored by DOE for Outstanding Research Accomplishments, Advancing U.S. Energy and Environmental Goals

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Golden, Colo., April 15, 1996 -- Dr. J. Douglas Balcomb,John Ericsson Award in Renewable Energy

The Ericsson Award recognizes the importance of developing renewable energy sources to maintain a robust and environmentally desirable future energy supply.

This year's recipient, J. Douglas Balcomb of DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has more than 30 years experience in the fields of engineering and solar energy. Dr. Balcomb, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1934, received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico in 1956. He was awarded a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961.

Balcomb has been a pioneer in the field of solar energy research for 17 years. One of his earliest notable offerings was the Solar Load Ratio technique for quantifying the energy performance of passive and active components and mixed systems. This accomplishment gave the solar energy design community a direct, verifiable method of evaluating solar features -- a method that is now used worldwide and has led to the development of many passive design tools. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineer's design manual, Passive Solar Heating Analysis, is an outgrowth of this method.

Dr. Balcomb's involvement in design has led to a collaboration with the Passive Solar Industries Council and the National Association of Home Builders. The collaboration has produced Builderguide, a user-friendly computer-based spreadsheet that calculates local specific energy performance and comfort. Balcomb is now adapting his basic methodology for residential design to small commercial buildings, making it more widely available in the private sector. He and his team at NREL's Center for Building and Thermal Energy Systems are developing the Energy-10 computer program, a design tool for architects and engineers that is especially applicable to small commercial and residential buildings.

Balcomb has published over 100 technical papers and lectured in 26 countries on effective passive design. He is a past chairman of the American Solar Energy Society.