New Home Energy Rating Software, EnergyGauge® USA 5.0 Released; Free Trial Available for Limited Time

August 24th, 2015

24 August 2015

EnergyGauge USA logo with eagle head on top of red, white, and blue-starred background.

EnergyGauge USA Version 5.0 is now available

Newly accredited by RESNET as a Home Energy Rating Software (HERS), IECC and Tax Credit tool, EnergyGauge USA 5.0, will be available as a free trial product for 90-days (or until November 30, 2015, whichever comes first). Any interested party may download Version 5.0 to examine the impacts of the ANSI/RESNET 301-2014 Standard on their most popular home designs.

Version 5.0 fully implements the new ANSI/RESNET 301-2014 Addendum A, hot water system calculations. These new hot water calculations allow HERS ratings to gain HERS credits for improved plumbing design, hot water piping insulation, low-flow fixtures, drain water heat recovery systems (DWHR), hot water recirculation systems and low water-use clothes washers and dishwashers. It also supports the national EPA ENERGY STAR new home program qualification and the U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH) new home program qualification.

The trial offer of EnergyGauge USA 5.0 will not allow RESNET registration of HERS Ratings. To be able to register ratings with the RESNET Registry using EnergyGauge USA 5.0, certified raters will need to purchase a license for the software.

To download the free 90-day trial offer, simply go to and click on the download button.

EnergyGauge software is a product of FSEC, a research institute of the University of Central Florida.

Dr. Lixing Gu Receives ASHRAE Distinguished Service Award

August 11th, 2015

By Kelsey Dwyer
August 11, 2015

Dr. Lixing Gu, principal research engineer in the Buildings Research department at FSEC, has received the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Distinguished Service Award at ASHRAE’s 2015 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. He received this award by exceeding 15 service points, exhibiting his abundance of service to the society.  Dr. Gu has dedicated much of his time and talent to ASHRAE, from completing research projects to publishing papers and reports in ASHRAE journals. Robin Vieira, director of the Buildings Research at FSEC, spoke highly of Dr. Gu’s accomplishments, saying, “This was a well-deserved award for Dr. Gu, who has contributed greatly to the knowledge base of heat transfers and buildings for the past 27 years.”

FSEC's Dr. Lixing Gu receives ASHRAE Distinguished Service award.

FSEC’s Dr. Lixing Gu, right, receives ASHRAE’s Distinguished Service Award.

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:

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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:


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

Read the rest of this entry »

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

May 21, 2015


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

Read the rest of this entry »

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


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.


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »