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.

New Florida HVAC Rebate Program Spurs FSEC to Offer Duct Testing Course

August 25th, 2010

The state of Florida is offering a $1500-per-household rebate for efficient air conditioner and heat pump replacements under the Florida ENERGY STAR® Residential HVAC Rebate Program. The rebates are available for systems that are contracted after August 30, 2010 and meet duct testing and efficiency requirements. The program ends December 31, 2010 or when $15 million in rebate funds are depleted.

The Florida ENERGY STAR® Residential HVAC Rebate Program is designed to encourage existing homeowners to replace their old energy-inefficient heating and cooling system with a properly-sized energy efficient system and to ensure that their heating and cooling duct system has minimal leakage.

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Opportunities for Florida

July 9th, 2010

Opportunities for Florida from Florida Solar Energy Center on Vimeo.

UCF Receives $482,000 to Expand ‘Green’ Jobs Training Program

June 18th, 2010

COCOA, June 18, 2010 – More local workers can receive ‘green’ job training thanks to a $482,000 federal grant to the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) at the University of Central Florida.

The grant, given under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will expand FSEC’s weatherization training program, which provides inspectors, contractors and other skilled workers training courses in energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization services, such as house air sealing and air duct diagnoses and repair.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected 34 projects in 27 states to develop or expand weatherization training centers. FSEC is one of three training centers in Florida selected to receive part of the $29 million in funding.

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FSEC Scientist Earns Honorary Hydrogen Title

June 16th, 2010

Nazim Muradov, principal research scientist at UCF's Florida Solar Energy Center.

Nazim Muradov, a principal research scientist at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center, was awarded the honorary title of International Association for Hydrogen Energy Fellow at the organization’s 18th biennial World Hydrogen Energy Conference.

More than 1,000 scientists and decision-makers in politics, finance and research gathered last month in Essen, Germany, for presentations on cutting-edge research on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Muradov has been involved in hydrogen energy research for the past 30 years. He spearheaded U.S. Department of Energy-funded research efforts on the development, patenting and licensing of a novel process for producing hydrogen.  Under a NASA contract, he led a research and development program on the local production of hydrogen from renewable resources such as landfill gas and citrus waste.

Muradov is the author and co-author of 200 publications and 34 patents, and three of his technologies have been licensed to industry.  He recently received a patent for a new approach to cleaning up oil spills using carbon materials that can soak the oil up like a sponge. He is planning to collaborate with an industrial partner to determine the commercial potential of the technology.

Muradov’s areas of focus include hydrogen production, fuel reformers for fuel cells, catalytic solar energy conversion, hydrogen sensors, carbon nanostructures, fossil fuel decarbonization and hydrocarbon processing.

He is an associate editor of the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy and a member of the international editorial council of the Processes of Petrochemistry and Oil Refining. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy and the Board of Trustees and Scientific Council of the Madrid Institute of Advanced Studies (IMDEA Energia), Spain. He received a University of Central Florida Research Incentive Award in 2003, and he earned UCF’s Distinguished Researcher of the Year Award for institutes and centers in 1996.