Beyond the Light Switch, a Detroit Public Television two-part documentary hosted by Scientific American Associate Editor David Biello, has been awarded a Silver Baton 2012 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, it was announced today. Biello and the production team of Ed Moore, Bill Kubota, Paul Dzendzel, Genevieve Savage and Jordan Wingrove spent more than a year working on the series which examines where Americans get their energy today and where it might come from tomorrow.

For his hosting, reporting and co-writing of the documentary, Biello traveled from an ARPA-e conference in Washington, D.C., to fracking fields in North Texas to provide a comprehensive view of the energy challenges our nation now faces. Beyond the Light Switch explores the current debates over hydraulic fracturing for natural gas as well as those surrounding nuclear power. The episodes allow viewers to weigh the environmental and economic costs and benefits of various energy sources in light of growing demands for electricity in the Digital Age. Scientific American Senior Editor George Musser is featured in a Beyond the Light Switch segment during which he gives viewers a tour of his home’s rooftop solar array and breaks down its real costs. (He explores this topic in detail at Solar at Home, part of the Scientific American blog network.)

For 70 years, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards have recognized excellence in broadcast journalism. Regarded today as the most prestigious prizes in broadcast news, the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes, the duPont-Columbia Awards bring the best in broadcast and digital journalism to professional and public attention and honor those who produce it. The duPont-Columbia University Award judges call Beyond the Light Switch “an ambitious and thoughtful documentary series that laid out the facts and conundrums of energy policy facing us all.”