Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

FSEC to Oversee Installation of Solar on 90 Emergency Shelter Schools

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

COCOA, Feb. 18, 2010 – The Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida will administer a $10 million state program to install solar energy systems on 90 public schools.

The SunSmart Schools E-Shelters (Emergency Shelters) program, unveiled this week by Gov. Charlie Crist, is expected to boost Florida’s clean energy sector by providing job opportunities to local installers and vendors. The grant money will come from federal economic stimulus funds.

The solar electric systems, also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems, will provide power during outages, offset electricity costs to the school during normal operations and reduce greenhouse gases. (more…)

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EnergyGauge® Summit Premier 3.22 Features LEED® (Version 3) 2009 Energy Optimization Calculation

Monday, November 9th, 2009
EnergyGauge Summit Premier just released version 3.22

EnergyGauge Summit Premier Version 3.22 Live at GreenBuild Expo.

EnergyGauge Summit is easy-to-use, state-of-the-art software that offers construction-industry professionals substantial time savings while completing required energy modeling calculations for LEED® projects.

The Florida Solar Energy Center® (FSEC®), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, just released EnergyGauge Summit Premier 3.22. FSEC will be exhibiting the software at the GreenBuild Expo in Phoenix November 10 – 12, 2009. This 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. It also offers a time-saving federal tax deduction qualification feature.

The new version of Summit Premier contains several improvements and additional features that make it more functional in its use for LEED and other calculations. They include:

  • Addition of the LEED (version 3) 2009 calculation feature for Energy Optimization Credit
  • Updated federal tax deduction calculation as per IRS Notice 2008-40 (amplification to IRS Notice 2006-52)
  • New input fields for various building envelope and system components to allow for more accurate modeling
  • Additional schedules for HVAC system control
  • DOE-2 based system sizing feature (beta version)

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As President Obama Helps Commission Solar Plant, UCF Solar Leader Receives National Recognition

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
David Block, director emeritus of FSEC, receives national recognition from the International Renewable Energy Council.

David Block, director emeritus of FSEC, receives national recognition from the International Renewable Energy Council.

ORLANDO, Oct. 27, 2009 — As President Barack Obama hails the opening of the nation’s largest solar photovoltaic power plant in DeSoto County, a University of Central Florida engineer credited with making the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) a world leader in renewable energy research is being honored by a national council.

David Block, director emeritus of FSEC, has received a special recognition award from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. The council, which Block helped found as the Interstate Solar Coordination Council in 1982, develops renewable energy programs and policies designed to lead to adoption of uniform guidelines, standards and quality assessment.

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New Home Sales Robust for Some Energy-Efficient Florida Builders

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

It’s no surprise that in today’s ailing market, new home sales are down. What is surprising is that construction is on the rise for six Florida homebuilders.

In partnership with one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America teams, led by the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), these successful homebuilders are building super energy-efficient homes. They are achieving a standard met by fewer than one of every 1,000 new homes built in Florida since 2007.

Homes consume about 35 percent of the electricity produced in the United States. Homes are also responsible for more than 20 percent of the U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, a significant contributor to global warming. Building America’s goal is to develop cost-effective solutions that reduce the average energy use of housing by 40 to 100 percent.

The Department of Energy's EnergySmart Home Scale (E-Scale) is based off of the HERS Index.

The Department of Energy's EnergySmart Home Scale (E-Scale) is based off the HERS Index.

Similar to an automobile’s miles-per-gallon sticker, energy-efficient homes can have an energy-efficiency rating called the EnergySmart Home ScaleSM (E-Scale), which is based on the nationwide Home Energy Rating System’s HERS Index. A home with an E-Scale of zero generates as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. While most existing homes have an E-Scale of 130 or higher, typical new homes in Florida have an E-Scale of about 90.
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FSEC to Help Run New National Solar Installer Training Network

Monday, October 19th, 2009

U.S. Department of Energy selected UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center to create and operate the network in six states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

With unemployment at an all-time high, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing in solar workforce development and providing $2.8 million to the University of Central Florida’s Solar Energy Center (FSEC) to help lead those efforts.

During a train-the-trainer event at the Florida Solar Energy Center, participants learn about solar technologies and developing training curricula.

During a train-the-trainer event at the Florida Solar Energy Center, participants learn about solar technologies and developing training curricula.

FSEC was selected as one of nine national institutions that will operate the newly created Solar Installer Instructor Training Network.

The national network will address a critical need for high-quality, local and accessible training in solar system design, installation, sales and inspection. The training network is a five-year effort intended to create a geographic blanket of training opportunities in solar installations across the United States. Its goals are to accelerate market adoption of solar technologies by ensuring that high-quality installations are standard and to create sustainable jobs within the solar installation industry.

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Energy Experts Offer Zero Energy Green Home Webinar Series

Monday, May 4th, 2009

The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will now offer a 12-course Webinar series on how to design, build and operate a Zero Energy Home — a home that produces as much energy as it uses.

This series of online courses offers practical education from building science experts with more than 30 years of research and experience. These courses are appropriate for architects, builders, contractors, designers, educators, energy auditors, energy raters, engineers, prospective homebuyers and utility representatives.

During these tough economic times, builders are looking for ways to attract home buyers and the new government administration is concentrating on creating “green jobs.”  Zero Energy Homes provide an opportunity to accomplish both and save consumers money while reducing their carbon footprint. These courses will show participants how to maximize energy-efficient design, make the best “green” choices, and optimize performance from solar and home energy management systems.

12-Course Webinar Series Begins June 3

The 12-course Webinar series begins June 3, 2009.

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Brevard Builder Takes the “Builders Challenge” – Media, public invited to tour new energy-efficient home at 2 p.m. April 25

Friday, April 24th, 2009

As homeowners cope with rising utility bills and declining income, the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has responded to a challenge from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help produce homes 30 percent more energy efficient than typical new homes.

Additionally, these new homes will meet other stringent “quality criteria” for indoor air quality, durability and comfort set forth in DOE’s new Builders Challenge program (www.buildingamerica.gov/challenge).

The Builders Challenge is backed by two decades of research conducted by DOE’s Building America program (www.buildingamerica.gov) that proves this goal can be achieved cost-effectively all across the country. FSEC, located on the UCF Brevard campus in Cocoa, leads one of DOE’s Building America teams (www.baihp.org) and has worked with a dozen of the first builders to achieve the Builders Challenge.

FSEC researchers will co-host the unveiling of LifeStyle Homes’ first Builders Challenge home this Saturday, April 25, at 2 p.m. The public and home building community are invited to the event, which will include a tour and testing demonstrations. Look for signs in the Whispering Winds community off Dairy Road in West Melbourne. For directions, visit the LifeStyle Homes Web site: www.BuildingALifeStyle.com.

LifeStyle Homes SunSmart Energy Initiative logo

LifeStyle Homes' SunSmart models meet the DOE's Builders Challenge quality criteria.

LifeStyle Homes – based in Melbourne, Fla. – is the first Brevard County builder to achieve the Builders Challenge with its new line of SunSmartSM models. FSEC’s Building America researchers provided technical assistance and third-party certification to LifeStyle Homes, which is required by the Builders Challenge criteria.

“We are extremely proud of our collaboration with LifeStyle Homes,” says Dr. Subrato Chandra, FSEC’s Building America program director. “We look forward to many more of these high-performance Builders Challenge homes being built. We plan to work alongside LifeStyle Homes every step of the way as they work toward our mutual goal of building zero energy homes, which provide their total energy needs from the power of the sun.”

Larry Hufford, founding partner of LifeStyle Homes, echoes the thoughts of many Builders Challenge participants.

“Increasing the energy efficiency of our homes offers solid benefits to our customers,” Hufford said. “It helps them save on their monthly and annual energy bills, and it is the right thing for us to do in moving our country toward energy independence.”

For more information, contact
Neil Moyer, FSEC Building America researcher, 321-638-1409
Jake Luhn, LifeStyle Homes, 321- 727-8188 extension 303

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Energy Experts to Share Their Knowledge at Sunsational EarthFest

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Sunsational EarthFest, a new Earth Day event, will help residents learn about renewable energy, resource conservation and the environment in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) and the Brevard Community College Green Team will host the event on Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Everyone is invited, and admission is free.

Learn from the experts how to cut your energy costs without sacrificing comfort, the benefits of green roofs, the basics of solar energy and the latest research in alternative fuel technology. Tours of the center will also be offered.

Exhibitors and vendors will offer presentations, demonstrations and activities.
Solar energy, environmental and educational exhibits — including various types of alternative fuel vehicles — will be on display, and a farmer’s market will feature local organic food. Activities for kids include a bicycle rodeo, solar boat demonstrations, a bouncy house and face painting. In addition, the Middle School Science Bowl finalist teams will race their model hydrogen fuel cell cars.

The BCC Green Team will present free educational and environmental films, “Gimme Green,” “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Kilowatt Ours.” The BCC Planetarium and Observatory will present two showings of the movie “A Living Sea,” which is shown in IMAX, at a discounted rate of $3.

Sunsational EarthFest activities will be located throughout the north end of the Brevard Community College Cocoa Campus and at the Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa.

Sunsational EarthFest is sponsored by the Florida Solar Energy Center, the BCC Green Team, Bright House Networks, FLORIDA TODAY and SolarWorld.

For more information, call Susan Schleith at (321) 638-1017 or go to www.floridaenergycenter.org/go/earthfest.

Florida’s Brightest Middle School Students Flex Their Problem-Solving Muscle

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Middle School Science Bowl student teams show their intellect under pressure and flex their problem-solving muscle – they solve math and science problems and demonstrate hands-on, engineering skills as they design and build model hydrogen fuel cell cars.

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Hot Water Systems Lab Offers Side-by-Side Testing

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Just as President Barack Obama steps up his campaign for energy efficiency, the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) celebrated the opening of its new Hot Water Systems Laboratory in Cocoa.

Water heating is the second largest home consumer of energy, and the performance of some systems on the market today have never been tested under realistic and extreme weather conditions. Testing in the lab will help provide answers the solar industry, utilities and home builders are looking for to increase energy efficiency.

Mr. Robert Hassett, U.S. Department of Energy's Building America Solar Heating and Cooling Technology Manager, cuts the ribbon at the opening celebration of FSEC's new Hot Water Systems Laboratory. He's joined by (from left to right) Danny Parker, principal investigator, Subrato Chandra, project manager, and Carlos Colon, task leader.

Mr. Robert Hassett, U.S. Department of Energy's Building America Solar Heating and Cooling Technology Manager, cuts the ribbon at the opening celebration of FSEC's new Hot Water Systems Laboratory. He's joined by (from left to right) Danny Parker, principal investigator, Subrato Chandra, project manager, and Carlos Colon, task leader.

“This project is an important part of Building America’s goal of zero energy buildings by year 2020,” said Robert Hassett, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Heating and Cooling Technology Manager. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program funded the lab at FSEC, a research institute of the University of Central Florida.

The facility, which opened on Wednesday, will be a hub to test solar, tankless and conventional domestic water heating systems for efficiency.

“Solar water heating is an excellent way to save energy on water heating and reduce whole-house energy use, but utilities are specifically interested in knowing whether or not solar is providing relief to the power grid during peak times. Our testing will answer their questions,” says Subrato Chandra, the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership project manager. This information is key to utility “buy-in” to more aggressively sponsor solar water heating systems.

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