Energy Audits for Rural Small Businesses

June 5th, 2015

Revised June 10, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants to rural small businesses. USDA chose the University of Central Florida’s FSEC to provide a limited number of subsidized building energy audits to small businesses in rural Florida communities who are eligible for the grants and loans. Audit candidates must also meet FSEC criteria, which will be determined by a phone interview.

Photo of small town businesses on a "main street."

A limited number of subsidized building energy audits will be available to small businesses in rural Florida communities. Photo: ThinkStock.com

What is a building energy audit? An energy audit is an assessment of the energy use and energy saving opportunities in a building. The business or building owners play a role in the audit by providing utility bills and getting quotes for the improvements to facilitate cost-benefit calculations. The audit report provides recommendations and calculations that help applicants complete the technical sections of the Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loan & Grant applications.

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New Florida Energy Code Effective June 30, 2015. Sign Up for the Training You Need; Limited Time Discount Available

June 4th, 2015

By Sherri Shields
June 4, 2015
Updated: July 01, 2015

Florida Building Code Fifth Edition (2014) Energy Conservation

FSEC training courses will address the changes in the Florida Building Code, Fifth Edition (2014) Energy Conservation.

New Florida Energy Conservation Code—5th Edition (2014)—is effective June 30, 2015*.

*Notice of Legislative Delay: SB 2502-A, Section 69, Chapter 2015-222 Laws of Florida 5th Edition (2014) Florida Building Code

Residential energy code changes include:

  • Building air leakage rate testing and limit requirements
  • New prescriptive compliance requirements
  • New performance compliance reference values

Commercial energy code changes include new methods for code compliance:

  • ASHRAE prescriptive method
  • ASHRAE energy cost budget method
  • ASHRAE envelope trade-off option method
  • IECC prescriptive method
  • IECC performance method.

Get the updates and training you need.  Sign up by July 31 for a $50 discount (use discount code “Newcode”) on the following courses:

A complete list of FSEC courses can be found at: http://ce.fsec.ucf.edu/.

 

EnergyWhiz Energizes Students in Hydrogen and Solar

May 28th, 2015

By Sherri Shields
May 28, 2015

It’s a growing phenomenon in Florida! From the Panhandle to the Keys, EnergyWhiz is drawing in students fascinated with renewable energy technology.

EnergyWhiz logo

EnergyWhiz – a venue for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art, and math capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused projects and activities.

EnergyWhiz, which includes six separate competitions, is a venue for students in grades fourth through 12th to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused competitions. At this year’s 13th annual event on May 2, more than 650 energized students from across Florida converged at the University of Central Florida’s FSEC in Cocoa to showcase their renewable energy projects and participate in the competitions. “We like making things run on the sun,” said Conner Dale, a student from Edgewood Junior Senior High. “It’s fun to interact with other students from across the state,” added Raydn Hall.

Tallahassee, Gainesville and Orlando hosted smaller EnergyWhiz Expos this year, leading up to the major EnergyWhiz event. “In an effort to reach more students, we’re encouraging teachers across Florida to host regional EnergyWhiz Expos, and then the winners of the expos will advance to the state level and compete at FSEC,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 education director at FSEC.

Students with red clown noses and neon colored wigs stand around contraption while judges look on.

Team Welcome to the Carnival from Milwee Middle School in Longwood earns the WOW! Award in the Hydrogen Challenge. Photo: Sherri Shields

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Energy Department Funds UCF Research in Housing Innovations

May 14th, 2015

By Barb Abney
May 14, 2015

Photo of Eric Martin in lab, leaning on test wall structure.

Eric Martin at FSEC’s Flexible Residential Testing Facility. Credit: Nicholas Waters

 

The University of Central Florida is the only university-led team in the nation to receive part of a $4 million investment by the Energy Department to develop and demonstrate energy efficient methods of keeping homes cool in the summer and warm in winter.

The Energy Department’s Building America program is working with industry partners to develop cutting-edge innovations and resources that will lead to 50 percent savings in new homes by 2025 and 40 percent savings in existing homes by 2030.

The Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction, led by UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), will receive nearly $1 million for research focused on optimal comfort systems for heating, cooling, air distribution, and humidity control. The project will also study high performance ventilation systems and indoor air quality strategies.

“This research will help us develop integrated approaches to making homes more energy efficient while keeping them comfortable, healthy and durable,” said Eric Martin, the project’s lead researcher and program director in FSEC’s Building Research Division.

Much of the work focuses on cooling applications in hot and humid climates like Florida’s. Work on keeping homes warm in the winter will be conducted by partners at Washington State University.

Experiments will be conducted in laboratory homes located at FSEC, as well as in occupied homes.

“To ensure near-term market penetration, we are working with several industry partners including production home builders and product manufacturers,” Martin said. “But we are also focused on influencing codes and standards, which can result in a significant market impact for years to come.”

A major focus of the Building America program is reducing home heating and cooling because combined they represent the highest single energy use for U.S. homeowners or 40 percent of a home’s energy consumption. In 2014, U.S. homeowners spent $70 billion to heat their homes and $24 billion to cool them. Improving the energy efficiency of home heating and cooling systems and building envelopes including roof, walls and windows is estimated to potentially reduce space conditioning energy consumption by as much as 70 percent.

Over the past 20 years FSEC has led three Building America Industry Partnerships: the Energy Efficient Industrialized Housing Partnership, the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership and the Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction.

2015 EnergyWhiz Winners

May 4th, 2015

REVISED
May 21, 2015

SOLAR ENERGY COOKOFF

EnergyWhiz logo

EnergyWhiz – a forum for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art, and math capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused projects and activities.

Best Design – Yellow Division

  • 1st Place – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ocean Breeze Elementary, Indian Harbor Beach
  • 2nd Place – Team B.A.M., Martinez Middle, Lutz
  • 3rd Place – Solar Sizzlers, Newberry Elementary, Newberry

Best Design – Orange Division

  • 1st Place – Solar Buddies, Hidden Oaks Middle, Palm City
  • 2nd Place – Rain in Spain Cooking Company, Lake Nona Middle, Orlando
  • 3rd Place – Girls, Doing Work!, Lake Nona Middle, Orlando

Best Design – Red Division

  • 1st Place – Solar Apes, Pine Ridge High, Deltona
  • 2nd Place – Thunder Tabemono, Lake Region High, Eagle Lake
  • 3rd Place – The Doctor’s Delight, Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Student-Designed and Built Solar Cars, Electric Go-Carts, Solar Cookers, Hydrogen Cars and Contraptions, Energy Efficient Pet Homes and Solar Inventions – All in One Day!

April 8th, 2015

By Sherri Shields
April 8, 2015

WHY:

The 13th annual EnergyWhiz, a daylong event showcasing student-built energy projects. These hands-on renewable energy activities expose students to alternative energy fuel sources and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

WHO:

More than 800 elementary, middle, high school and college students from across Florida will participate in the University of Central Florida/ Florida Solar Energy Center event.

Brevard County Parks and Recreation, in partnership with FSEC, is sponsoring the EcoLiving Jubilee, where various energy and environmental organizations will be on site to share information about their products and services.

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UCF’s FSEC to Establish Statewide Alternative Fuel Vehicle Training for First Responders

April 3rd, 2015

By Sherri Shields
April 3, 2015

Central Florida Clean Cities logo

Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy

The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), host of the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, was selected to establish an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) training network for the state of Florida that adapts safety and technical training based on existing curricula for local needs. This project will establish training on electric drive, compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane vehicles for first responders, college instructors, tow-truck operators, and salvage/recycling operators.

The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program at $600,000 over a two-year period and starting later this month, will bring together Florida’s Clean Cities Coalitions and their stakeholders to increase the acceptance and deployment of AFVs.

The Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, in partnership with CareerSource Brevard, has demonstrated both the need and demand for this type of training as they have supported classroom, online, and hands-on instruction for nearly 200 local public safety officers.

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University of Central Florida’s First Electric Vehicle Fast Charger Opens in Cocoa — Grand Opening and Ride and Drive Announced

March 16th, 2015

By Sherri Shields

COCOA, Fla., March 16, 2015 – Electric Vehicle drivers now have a place to charge up on the Space Coast in Cocoa. Located just two miles off State Road 528, otherwise known as the “Beachline,”—a main artery connecting Orlando to the Space Coast —the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is now home to a Direct Current (DC) Fast Charger and a dual Level 2 charger.

The grand opening of UCF’s re-charging facility at FSEC is scheduled for Friday, March 20 at 11 a.m. Nissan will be offering a Ride & Drive for the all-electric Nissan LEAF® from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. A variety of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will also be on display. The public is invited to attend and participate in this special event.

Donated by Nissan North America, and provided by NovaCharge, a leading provider and integrator of EV charging solutions nationwide, the DC Fast Charger is a first for UCF, as well as the City of Cocoa.

“We’re excited to have such a valuable resource for the electric vehicle community right in our backyard,” said City of Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III.

Photo of black Nissan Leaf being charged with DC fast charger.

UCF’s first DC fast charger at FSEC in Cocoa will re-charge the all-electric Nissan LEAF to 80% capacity within 30 minutes.

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GRAND OPENING: EV Charging Station @ FSEC

March 12th, 2015

You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of the Electric Vehicle Charging Station at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center on Friday, March 20, 2015 at 11 a.m. 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922. Ride & Drive the Nissan LEAF®.

MEDIA ADVISORY: UCF’s First Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Station Opens in Cocoa ­— Grand Opening and Ride & Drive Announced

March 10th, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

WHAT:
UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will have a Grand Opening for its new Electric Vehicle charging station. A Ride and Drive of the all-electric Nissan LEAF will be offered, and a variety of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be on display, including the Cadillac ELR and Chevy Volt.

WHEN:
Friday, March 20, 2015

11:00 a.m. – Ribbon cutting
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Ride & Drive, Nissan LEAF

WHERE:
Florida Solar Energy Center
1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922
(321) 638-1000

BACKGROUND:
Working with NovaCharge, Nissan North America donated the Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) to UCF’s FSEC. Located on the Eastern Florida State College Cocoa Campus, FSEC is an ideal location for a DC fast charger since it’s two miles from State Road 528, the “Beachline Expressway”—a main artery connecting the Orlando area and Orlando International Airport to the Space Coast.

The EV charging station includes two standalone chargers:

  • DC Fast Charger with CHAdeMO connector.
    This 50 kW charger can provide about 80 percent battery charge to a Nissan LEAF within 30 minutes.
    Specs: 480V, 3-phase, 60 amps
  • Level 2 Charger with 7 kW dual J1772 connectors.
    This charger takes 3-4 hours to provide a full charge.
    Specs: 208V, single-phase, 30 amps

EDITOR’S NOTE: Representatives from UCF, City of Cocoa, City of Orlando, Nissan North America, Chevrolet, NovaCharge, FPL, and Drive Electric Florida will be in attendance.

CONTACT:
Sherri Shields
Director, Communications
Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
University of Central Florida (UCF)
(321) 638-1019
www.fsec.ucf.edu

PR15-02