Energy Research Study Seeks Two-Story Homes in 13 Counties

November 29th, 2011

COCOA, November 29, 2011 — The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is seeking qualified two-story homes to participate in a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored “wind washing” study that will begin next month.

Eligible participants will be compensated $50 for the initial study, and up to $680 for those who are selected to participate in the monitoring and repair portion of the project; repair costs will be paid by FSEC. Homes for the study are being sought in the following Florida counties: Brevard, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Marion, Putnam, Flagler, St. Johns, Clay, Duval and Nassau.

Diagram of how wind-driven attic air is pushed into the space between floors.

Wind-driven attic air is pushed into the space between floors.

Wind washing involves the flow of air from an attic space into the floor cavity between the first and second stories of the house. Homes with wind washing are likely to experience increased utility costs and, in some cases, indoor comfort problems. Read the rest of this entry »

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Solar Power Systems Educate Students, Reduce Costs for Schools and Provide Emergency Power

July 14th, 2011

COCOA, July 14, 2011 – Nearly 100 Florida schools will be soaking up solar rays to power their buildings this fall thanks to the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC).

FSEC, a University of Central Florida research institute, is providing each school with a 10-kilowatt, solar photovoltaic (PV) system valued at more than $80,000. These systems allow schools to capture the sun’s rays and turn them into energy to help reduce electricity costs, and they also serve as generators during a power outage. Installation of the systems – under way now – will reduce energy costs by up to $1,500 a year and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The photovoltaic system at Oak Hammock Middle School in Ft. Myers is near completion.

The photovoltaic system at Oak Hammock Middle School in Ft. Myers is near completion.

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Photovoltaics Are Half the Cost of Gasoline!

May 24th, 2011

Everyone is impacted by the current high price of gasoline. President Obama gets criticized because the public thinks he can actually control the price, Big oil gets called before Congress because it gets substantial subsidies from taxpayers. And we, the citizens, pay the highest gas prices we have ever paid in the face of one of the country’s most severe economic downturns.

But there is hope for the Sunshine State, as every cloud has a silver lining.

For the past half dozen years or so, the automotive industry has become pretty serious about producing electric cars that work. The new Chevy Volt (Motor Trend’s Car of the Year) and the all-electric Nissan Leaf are good examples – and they are real game changers.

But what does this have to do with the cost of photovoltaics and gasoline?

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Students’ Bright Ideas Shine at EnergyWhiz Olympics

May 11th, 2011

COCOA, May 11, 2011 – Florida students have creative ideas for solving some of the world’s greatest energy challenges, and their solutions were demonstrated Saturday at the ninth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics.

More than 900 students throughout Florida converged Saturday, May 7 at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa to compete in the day-long competition showcasing student projects in alternative fuel technologies.

Solar Energy Cookoff teams were judged for their cooker's design.

Solar Energy Cookoff teams were judged on their cooker's design and the dish they cooked.

Events included the Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, a solar cooker design and cooking contest; the Junior Solar Sprint, model-size solar car races; the High School Hydrogen Sprint and Hands-On-Hydrogen, model-size hydrogen-powered car races; and Energy Innovations, a full-scale solar electric design challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

MEDIA ADVISORY: EnergyWhiz Olympics to Feature Students’ Solar Cars, Cookers

May 2nd, 2011

The ninth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student projects in alternative energy. Activities include Energy Innovations, Hydrogen Sprint, Hands-On-Hydrogen, Junior Solar Sprint and Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff.

EnergyWhiz Olympics

More than 650 Florida elementary, middle and high school students – from as far as Tallahassee and Miami – will participate starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center. FSEC is located at Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, 1679 Clearlake Road. The public is invited to attend free of charge.
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UCF’s FSEC Seeks Florida Homeowners for Retrofit Study

April 28th, 2011

Update: July 11, 2011 – The PNNL Website is temporarily down.  Applications are no longer being accepted from Florida.

Dear Florida Homeowner,

Are you interested in saving money on your utility bills?  Do you wish your home used less energy and was more comfortable? Have you considered investing in a major home renovation? If so, your home may qualify for a free energy assessment, incentives through your local utility company, and free technical assistance from one of the nation’s leading national laboratories.

UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is partnering with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to help homeowners achieve 30 to 50 percent energy savings through home efficiency retrofits!  If your house qualifies, your renovation will be part of a research study for PNNL that can help inform the nation about retrofit best practices.  Read the rest of this entry »

EnergyGauge Calculates New ENERGY STAR® HERS Index Target Automatically

February 28th, 2011

We are pleased to announce the release of our newest software version, EnergyGauge USA 2.8.05.  Incorporated in this release are several software enhancements designed specifically for energy raters.  In our effort to provide a complete energy rating and registration tool for HERS raters and providers, we have included a new HERS registration system, and automated the calculations required for the ENERGY STAR Version 3 (Revision 1) National Program.

ENERGY STAR Homes has announced version 2.5 of their program will go in effect April 1, 2011 and version 3 will go in effect January 1, 2012. The version 3 process, and version 2.5 in most locations, requires that each home have a unique ENERGY STAR HERS Index Target calculated. This target requires the creation of an ENERGY STAR Reference Design Home and a size adjustment factor. EnergyGauge automates the multiple step process and handles all of the logic required to determine if an entered home passes versions 2.5 and 3.

To make an energy rater’s job even easier, we have taken the ENERGY STAR Version 3 Program one step further by not only incorporating newly required checklists for quality control, but also performing the logic associated with ensuring checklist input conforms to the program requirements for v2.5 and v3.0. The rater also has the ability to print the blank checklists from the software.

In addition, this release supports a new system designed to simplify the registration process for raters and create secure downloadable PDF documents.  The process of creating and uploading the PDF documents to the HERS Registration Web site is performed automatically at the time the provider performs the registration.  Reports will include a digital signature embedded into the PDF document at the time of creation to ensure security and authenticity.

To learn more about EnergyGauge go to www.EnergyGauge.com

New Research Facility to Test Home Energy Improvements

January 14th, 2011

COCOA, Jan. 14, 2011 – Recognizing the need for statewide energy efficiency, UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center celebrates the completion of its newest research facility for testing energy improvements in new and existing homes. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for this endeavor was held today on UCF’s Cocoa campus.

Initial research at the Flexible Residential Test Facility will focus on energy improvement potentials in vintage Florida homes. Those constructed prior to 1975 make up 63 percent of Florida’s more than eight million existing homes, which represents a substantial energy and cost savings potential for cost-effective, “deep” home energy improvements, or retrofits. Prospective savings could result in 30 to 50 percent of current residential energy use.

Funded by the state’s Florida Energy Systems Consortium, the research facility was instrumental in attracting a major multi-million dollar, four-year research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Ribbon cutting of Flexible Residential Test Facility

Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Flexible Residential Test Facility are (left to right) Robin Vieira, Director, Buildings Research at Florida Solar Energy Center; David Lee, U.S. Department of Energy’s Director of Residential Building Programs; James Fenton, Director, Florida Solar Energy Center.

“As we address greenhouse gas emissions, we have to look at retrofitting existing homes. This facility will be instrumental in researching the impacts of home energy efficiency improvements in hot climates,” said Mr. David Lee, U.S. Department of Energy’s Director of Residential Building Programs.

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FSEC Offers Solar Tech Sales Course

November 8th, 2010

COCOA, Nov. 8, 2010 – Understanding the need for qualified representatives in the solar industry, the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is offering a technical sales course to current and prospective energy professionals.

FSEC – a research institute of the University of Central Florida and the leading statewide solar energy training facility in Florida – is now offering the course, Photovoltaic System Technical Sales. The continuing education course focuses on technical knowledge and best practices for successful photovoltaic (solar electric) sales. The two-day course begins Jan. 12 in Cocoa.

Designed for sales personnel, contractors and solar practitioners who market photovoltaic (PV) systems, this course will provide participants with the necessary knowledge and tools to:

  • Evaluate the needs of a potential PV system customer
  • Perform a site analysis to determine the feasibility of installing a PV system
  • Select or design a system that best meets a customer’s needs
  • Prepare a proposal for a customer that presents design specifications, performance estimates, an installation schedule, costs and benefits.

“This is the first time that we’ve offered this course, and it will be a dynamic class,” said John Harrison, solar energy training manager at FSEC. “We have top-notch instructors with public and private sector market experience in photovoltaics.”

Participants will receive lecture presentations and a hands-on demonstration on conducting a site survey and analysis, in addition to seeing a demonstration of PV components.

The only prerequisite to the course is that students should have a basic understanding of electrical systems and their properties and terminology.

This course is very closely aligned with the new task analysis of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners’ (NABCEP) PV Technical Sales Certification Program and should help participants prepare for the NABCEP exam. For more information on eligibility requirements, visit http://www.nabcep.org/certification/pv-technical-sales-certification.

Register and learn more about FSEC’s Photovoltaic System Technical Sales course at www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/pvtechsales.

FSEC – Creating Energy Independence: The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research institute in the nation. Current divisions and their research activities include Advanced Energy Research: alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel and fuel cells; Buildings Research: energy-efficient buildings; and Solar Energy: solar water and pool heating and solar electric and distributed generation systems. For more information about the center, visit http://www.floridaenergycenter.org or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at 321-638-1015.

UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 2nd largest in the nation with more than 56,000 students. UCF’s first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region’s economic development. UCF’s culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.

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FSEC to Host Orlando Workshop for National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day

October 14th, 2010

Cocoa, FL – The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will host the eighth National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey Advancing the Choice alternative fuel workshop on October 15, 2010 at Lynx Biodiesel Facility in Orlando at 250 Lynx Lane.

Clean Cities Florida Space Coast Coalition – Alternative Fuel Transportation

This nationwide event is being held in 94 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 program promotes awareness and use of AFVs, 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 as part of the national event. This workshop will feature presentations and discussions about AFV ownership opportunities, biodiesel and ethanol production, quality standards for fuel grade, utilizing biofuels in current vehicles, and construction of biodiesel and ethanol fueling stations.

The workshop will run from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and the cost to attend is free for on-line registration, or $10 at the door. For more information about this workshop please contact FSEC researcher Bill Young at (321) 638-1443, or visit www.clean-cities.org.