New LEED® Modeling Software Saves Time, Money for Sustainable Commercial Construction

October 24th, 2014

October 24, 2014

Newly updated software offers construction-industry professionals substantial time-savings while completing required energy modeling calculations for LEED® and energy code projects. A limited-time discount is available.

EnergyGauge Summit Premier Edition logo

A fully-functional trial version of EnergyGauge is available at EnergyGauge.com. A $100 discount per user license is available until 12/20/2014.

Commercial construction companies have a new tool to help their clients build LEED® certified buildings faster and more efficiently thanks to the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center® (FSEC®).

FSEC® released the EnergyGauge® Summit Premier 5.00 software at this year’s Greenbuild conference in New Orleans. The conference is the premier event for sustainable building in the United States and draws thousands to learn about the latest technology and techniques. FSEC’s state-of-the-art software provides construction-industry professionals with the opportunity to substantially reduce the time required to complete energy modeling for the commercial construction LEED® rating system and code compliance using ASHRAE 90.1 or IECC.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share/Save

In the Field with Neil: Calculating Dewpoint Temperature

October 13th, 2014

By Neil Moyer
October 13, 2014

Cold Drink with Lime Slices

Condensation  on my glass is OK, but not so much in my wall assembly.

Summer is nice and hot, and wet.  We build enclosures to keep us at a comfortable 55 degree dewpoint temperature (typically 75F and 50%RH).  Florida has an outside dewpoint temperature that is in the low 70s during the summer (and after a rain – shoots up to where the temperature and dewpoint temperature are nearly identical).  It is all about the dewpoint – when do things start sweating.  Buildings don’t sweat like people do, but they most certainly can have condensation problems.  Consider that nice glass of ice tea sitting on the patio table – yep it is condensation on the exterior of that glass.  (Dewpoint temperature is that special temperature when water in the vapor form turns into water in the liquid form.  It is a relative humidity of 100%.)  It is OK on my glass, but not so much in my wall assembly.  That can lead to “green buildings”; the one that no one likes except maybe lawyers and building forensic guys.  So understanding dewpoint temperature is important when we design and modify our buildings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tei Explains It: Quality Assurance Checklist

October 13th, 2014

By Tei Kucharski
October 13, 2014

Green check mark in white box with gray outline

Checklists are an essential tool when documenting for quality assurance.

Quality Assurance (QA) is not for the weak stomached any longer.

With all of the RESNET changes, and the changes that are on the horizon, QA has become one of the items that are priority at RESNET and with the builders that home energy raters are servicing. Documenting all of the homes with checklists and field review of both HERS Index Scored Homes and ENERGY STAR Homes is imperative.

When doing your final inspection, in addition to your blower door and duct testing, you should be checking the following and documenting with pictures:

Read the rest of this entry »

Notice to Consumers, Contractors, and Building Officials

October 13th, 2014

October 13, 2014

The following notice does not apply to solar electric (photovoltaic – PV) systems that provide electrical power to air-conditioning systems.

Warning sign with cloud background

Consumer Warning!

Products currently being marketed in Florida as “Solar Air Conditioners” or “Solar Assisted Air Conditioners” using solar heating collectors have not been certified by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC). These products feature a solar heating collector within a conventional air conditioning system. FSEC has not tested or validated the claim that the solar heating collectors enhance air-conditioning performance.

Consumers are advised to consult an income tax professional regarding any federal income tax credit claims. Qualified residential solar systems are defined in §25D(d) of Title 26 of the U.S. Code.

Tax Code Reference:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/pdf/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleA-chap1-subchapA-partIV-subpartA-sec25D.pdf

FSEC Affordable Housing Partners Recognized for DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes

October 8th, 2014

By Danielle Daniel
October 8, 2014

ZERO Energy Ready Home U.S. Department of Energy logo

The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Leading Builders awards are presented to builders who are changing the way homes are designed and constructed.

Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of South Sarasota County—affordable housing partners of the University of Central Florida’s FSEC—were the honored recipients of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home Leading Affordable Builders awards in September. A total of 28 industry leaders (including six affordable builders) were recognized at the 2014 Housing Innovation Award ceremony at EEBA’s Excellence in Building Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. DOE Housing Innovation Awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of contractors and builders to design and construct high performance, zero energy ready homes.

Energy efficiency, comfort, and durability are key components of DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes. To qualify for this certification, homes must meet stringent requirements in seven categories. To reduce energy consumption and resulting energy costs, these high performance homes must achieve a very low score on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The closer the score is to zero, the less energy is needed to run the home.

Read the rest of this entry »

FSEC Research Fuels Patents, Commercialization, and Wins R&D 100 Award

September 25th, 2014

By Sherri Shields
September 25, 2014

A hydrogen safety technology that was developed as a result of a partnership between the University of Central Florida’s FSEC® and NASA, and then commercialized by a university startup company, has been internationally recognized by the R&D 100 Awards program as one of the most technologically significant products to enter the marketplace last year.

When NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center needed an easy-to-use, safe, effective and non-powered solution to visually detect dangerous hydrogen leaks on and near the shuttle launch pad, they reached out to FSEC’s Dr. Ali Raissi and his team of researchers, Drs. Nazim Muradov, Gary Bokerman, Nahid Mohajeri, and R. Paul Brooker. Together, NASA KSC and FSEC—a research institute of the University of Central Florida—designed a one-of-a-kind, tape-like solution that selectively changes color in the presence of hydrogen gas. Since hydrogen gas is odorless and colorless, visual detection means that the leak source can now be quickly pinpointed for repair.

Photo of Nazim Muradov, Nahid Mohajeri, Gary Bokerman, Ali Raissi.

FSEC’s Advanced Energy Division researchers, left to right, Nazim Muradov, Nahid Mohajeri, Gary Bokerman, Ali Raissi. Not pictured: R. Paul Brooker.

Read the rest of this entry »

FSEC Research Presented at 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

August 20th, 2014

FSEC researchers presented their research findings at the 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Pacific Grove, CA on August 17-22, 2014. Check out their research publications:

3D view of exhaust fan

One study met ASHRAE 62.2 levels of ventilation with a high quality, quiet exhaust fan rated for continuous runtime, with an insulated exhaust duct to limit condensation.

What are the implications of mechanically introducing humid outside air into residential buildings, compared to the indoor air quality benefits?

Take a look at the results of a study of 10 homes in Gainesville, FL that includes impact on energy use, comfort, durability, and cost.

 

In another study of mechanical ventilation in homes, two lab homes, constructed to represent characteristics of typical existing Florida homes, were monitored. They were configured with tight and leaky building envelopes, and with and without mechanical ventilation. Simulation results of high performance new homes with mechanical ventilation, and typical older homes with and without air tightening and mechanical ventilation, were also presented.

Read the rest of this entry »

FPL Offers 50%* Discount Toward Training at Florida Solar Energy Center

June 10th, 2014

In an effort to make professional training for the installation of solar water heating (SWH) and photovoltaic (PV) solar systems more accessible to licensed electrical, plumbing, and solar contractors and their employees, Florida Power & Light Company is offering a discount for training classes conducted by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa, Florida.

How it works:
1. Visit www.FPL.com/trainingdiscount and fill out the eligibility form
2. FPL will verify eligibility and send an email with a promotion code
for the discount
3. Visit the FSEC website to register for the course(s) and enter the promotion code to receive the discounted course pricing

An essential part of the workshops are the installation instruction sessions. These concentrate on proper system installation and include roof mounting and sealing of both photovoltaic modules and solar water heating collectors on various Florida roof types. This includes a basic understanding of the design and installation methods used to ensure that modules and collectors are securely mounted. Identification of the various hurricane wind regions in Florida and the maximum wind speed requirements solar panels must withstand in each region.

Students attending the FSEC workshops will receive an “FSEC Certificate of Course Completion” once they successfully complete the course(s). Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board and Electrical Industry Licensing Board continuing education credits are also available for those taking the Photovoltaic System Workshop (18 credits). These are credits that licensed contractors need for renewal of their license.

* In order to be eligible for the discount, class participants must work for a licensed electrical, plumbing or solar contractor doing business in FPL’s service area, provide their valid contractor license number and agree to the terms releasing FPL from any liability. FPL discount available for all Solar Water Heating Systems and Photovoltaic Systems Workshops offered through 2014.

STUDENTS OUTSHINE RAIN AT ENERGYWHIZ OLYMPICS

May 8th, 2014

COCOA, May 3, 2014—Despite discouraging weather forecasts, more than 450 students traveled from as far away as Key West and Tallahassee to compete in the EnergyWhiz Olympics at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center today. The sun didn’t shine, but the competitions went on…well, at least part of them.

In the Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, ovens were judged only on design. The morning started out cloudy and oven temperatures only reached 100 degrees before the heavy rains appeared. Also impacted by the rain was the Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), a model solar car race.

“We were hopeful the rain would go around us, but not this year. It’s the first time in 14 years that we couldn’t hold the Junior Solar Sprint,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 education coordinator at FSEC.

Read the rest of this entry »

ENERGY LEADERS EMERGE ON MAY 3RD

April 24th, 2014

Energized Students Demonstrate Skills at the EnergyWhiz Olympics on the Space Coast

WHAT:

The 12th annual EnergyWhiz Olympics will bring together students from across Florida, converging in Cocoa, to showcase their renewable energy projects. Student teams will race solar cars, demonstrate creative solar and hydrogen projects, present solar oven designs and cooking skills, and reveal energy-efficient pet homes, all highlighting their energy knowledge and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).

NEW:  An Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive—which will include a Nissan Leaf—will be available for adults to experience.

The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Read the rest of this entry »