Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

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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Building Science Experts Offer Green Building Courses

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is offering a series of five courses on “Designing and Maintaining the High Performance Green Building” for architects, engineers, mechanical contractors, building inspectors, facility managers and indoor air quality specialists. Initial course offerings will be held at FSEC in Cocoa starting Feb. 4.

This series of courses will demonstrate:

  • How to design and maintain a green building that has good indoor air quality
  • How to make a building durable, comfortable and energy efficient
  • How to protect buildings from mold
  • What types of air-conditioning systems will cause mold problems
  • What advanced dehumidification technologies are available for use in buildings.

“A recent study finds about 25 percent of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified green buildings use more energy than expected and about 12 percent use more energy than allowed by the building code. Our courses will provide the knowledge to address these issues,” said Rob Vieira, director of buildings research at FSEC.

The courses will focus on problems in commercial buildings, although the principles discussed will be applicable to all buildings. The FSEC buildings researchers will discuss such areas as ventilation requirements, humidity control, building envelope design, pressure imbalances, HVAC systems, window selection, vapor barriers and related issues.

Students who attend all five courses in the series and pass the exam in Courses one, two and three will earn an FSEC Green Commercial Building Design and Maintenance Certificate.

The courses and schedules are:

Course 1: “Designing Building Envelopes to Control Air and Moisture in High Performance Green Buildings,” Feb. 4

Course 2: “Designing and Maintaining Building Air Flows in High Performance Green Buildings,” Feb. 5

Course 3: “Designing and Maintaining HVAC Systems for High Performance Green Buildings,” Feb. 18

Course 4: “Design Charrette — Practice Design of a High Performance Green Building,” Feb. 19

Course 5: “Commercial Energy Code and Green Building Modeling Using EnergyGauge Summit,” Feb. 26

The cost of each course is $269. For more information about the courses or to register, visit: www.floridaenergycenter.org/go/courseschedule.

FSEC to Support Solar-Powered Monorail System Development

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Sky Train Corporation (STC) and the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) at the University of Central Florida a $100,000 renewable energy collaborative grant. The grant’s primary focus is to fund the development an innovative solar interface to power a next-generation high-speed monorail that will be 80 percent more efficient than rubber-tired monorails in the U.S.

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Florida Solar Energy Center Accepting Applications for 2008 Energy Awards

Friday, November 21st, 2008

The Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida is accepting applications for the 2008 Florida Energy Achievement Award and the Florida Utility Energy Achievement Award. The two awards recognize significant achievements in the efficient utilization of energy, energy conservation, energy education or renewable energy in facilities or programs.

A Florida utility and a Florida company, organization or individual that demonstrate statewide leadership and significant accomplishments in sustainability and energy savings will be honored. Last year’s recipient was Ann C. Wilkie, associate professor at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). She was recognized for her extensive work in alternative energy – creating bio-energy from animal waste – and her leadership in promoting awareness and understanding of renewable energy and sustainable practices. Previous award winners also include Walt Disney World and Sarasota County Government. There were no applicants last year for the Florida Utility Energy Achievement Award.

Results recognized through the awards could include reducing energy use, water conservation, renewable energy generation, the use of alternative fuel vehicles and renovations or retrofits with energy-saving measures. Other results could include reducing pollution, innovative energy-saving performance contracts or utility energy services contracts, having a major impact on public education regarding energy issues or playing a prominent role in educating or disseminating information related to energy conservation.

Applications for the 2008 awards must be received at the Florida Solar Energy Center by January 16, 2009.

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EnergyGauge® Summit Premier 3.15 Saves Energy Modelers Time

Friday, November 7th, 2008

This easy-to-use, state-of-the-art software 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, today released EnergyGauge Summit Premier 3.15. FSEC will be exhibiting the software at the Greenbuild conference in Boston Nov. 19 – 21. 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 automatic federal tax deduction qualification feature.

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FSEC to Host Workshop for National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Cocoa, FL – The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will host an alternative fuel workshop on October 3, 2008, as part of the National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Odyssey Day.

The National AFV Odyssey Day is a nationwide event being held in 86 different locations throughout the U.S. this year. Coordinated by the National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Training Consortium (NAFTC) in a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Clean Cities Program, the goal of this national program is to promote the awareness and use of AFVs, as well as promote energy conservation and independence for the U.S.

The Space Coast Clean Cities Coalition, a Florida chapter of the U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program, has coordinated and organized the Advancing the Choice alternative fuel workshop locally as part of this national event. The workshop will feature presentations and discussions about AFV ownership opportunities, biodiesel production, quality standards for fuel grade, utilizing biodiesel in current vehicles, and construction of biodiesel fueling stations. Guests will also be able to test drive AFVs and speak with auto manufacturers and industry experts at this event.

The workshop will run from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and the cost to attend is $10. Space is limited, so please register early at www.floridaenergycenter.org/go/afv4.

For more information about this workshop please contact FSEC researcher Bill Young at (321) 638-1443, or visit www.clean-cities.org.

FSEC to Lead Team for DOE Project, Making Solar More Practical

Monday, August 18th, 2008

COCOA, Fla. – The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will lead one of 12 research and development teams that will work on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Sandia National Laboratories’ Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS) projects. DOE plans to invest up to $24 million over a number of years to provide funding for the research and development of new solar electricity, or photovoltaic (PV), technology resulting in more versatile, higher-performing products. This research will make PV systems more practical for home and business owners, as well as for utilities, by improving the operational characteristics of the systems. These newly planned PV systems will allow solar electricity to become a more fundamental part of household and commercial energy systems while simultaneously serving a vital role in the utility portfolio of generation resources.

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