Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

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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FSEC Researcher Selected to Advisory Board for Partners in Sustainable Building

Monday, June 9th, 2008
Photo of Janet McIlvaine
Janet McIlvaine

Janet McIlvaine, a research analyst for the Florida Solar Energy Center’s (FSEC) buildings division, was selected to be an advisory member for Habitat for Humanity International and The Home Depot Foundation’s new national green building initiative, Partners in Sustainable Building. This program will provide funding and resources to assist in making at least 5,000 homes built by Habitat affiliates more energy efficient and sustainable according to nationally recognized green building standards.

McIlvaine is part of a team of sustainable building experts, providing technical assistance, general advice and feedback during the Partners in Sustainable Building program’s pilot phase, which began in May. She will also participate in the nationwide training effort when the program is officially launched in 2009.

Over the next five years, the Partners in Sustainable Building program will provide cash incentives to Habitat affiliates throughout the United States for improving their construction specifications and techniques to help qualify new homes for ENERGY STAR status, which requires homes to be at least 15 percent more efficient than standard, built-to-code homes. Funds and resources provided through this program will help Habitat affiliates expand their use of energy-efficient equipment, install more water-conserving fixtures and ensure good indoor air quality. These homes will be more durable and energy efficient, which will make them more affordable for the homeowners.

Through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America program, FSEC has built a rich partnership with Habitat for Humanity that has spanned more than a decade and reaches every corner of the nation. “FSEC is delighted and honored to have Janet bring her experience to the development of this new, timely program,” said Subrato Chandra, FSEC’s project director for the DOE-sponsored Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership. “She has spearheaded FSEC’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity for more than 10 years, making her an ideal representative who can provide an extensive knowledgebase for this program.”

About The Home Depot Foundation

The Home Depot Foundation was created in 2002 to further the community building goals of The Home Depot. The Home Depot Foundation is dedicated to building homes for working families that are healthy to live in and affordable to own. Through the incorporation of responsible design, homes built with durable and quality materials are more energy and water efficient, have good indoor air quality, and are overall a safe and healthy space to live. Since its formation, The Home Depot Foundation has granted $70 million to nonprofit organizations and supported the development of more than 50,000 affordable, healthy homes.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 250,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people.

Florida Students Compete With Energy Solutions

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Cocoa, Fla. – With the constant rise of gas prices, energy is on everyone’s mind these days, including our students’. On Saturday, May 3, hundreds of students from more than 40 schools all over Florida competed in the sixth-annual EnergyWhizOlympics at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Here they put their knowledge and skills to work toward finding solutions to our nation’s energy challenges.

This alternative energy competition, sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, highlights the science and engineering skills of middle school and high school students as they participate in activities related to real-world energy issues by racing solar and hydrogen-powered model cars.

“We were so impressed with the level of competition this year,” said Susan Schleith, project manager for the EnergyWhiz Olympics. “Students are beginning to take a real interest in alternative energy, which is promising for our future energy independence.” (more…)

EnergyWhiz Olympics on May 3 at the Florida Solar Energy Center

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Cocoa, Fla. – Hundreds of students from more than 60 schools across Florida will participate in the sixth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The EnergyWhiz Olympics, sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, highlights the science and engineering skills of middle school and high school students as they participate in activities related to the real-world issue of energy.

“This event provides students with a great opportunity to develop and show off their engineering skills and their knowledge of emerging energy concepts,” said Susan Schleith, project manager for the EnergyWhiz Olympics. “Each year we have more schools participating, and it’s great to know that students are taking a real interest in alternative energy.” (more…)