Posts Tagged ‘energy efficient’

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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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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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.

Resolve to Save Energy: Five Simple steps to become more energy efficient

Monday, January 1st, 2007
Photo of programmable thermostat. 1. Use a programmable thermostat with your air conditioner.Or turn up the temperature setting on your standard thermostat while you are gone. Even a few hours can make a difference in your utility bill.
Photo of compact fluorescent light bulb being installed into lamp. 2. Replace all your light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting.If you live in a 2000 sq. ft. home, in a year’s time, you could save 1500 kWh and $200! These bulbs can last 3-5 years!
Photo of hand on duct. 3. Inspect your duct system – cool your home not your attic. Contact your local utility for information about inspection and duct repairs.
Photo of hand holding metal ruler in attic insulation. 4. Check your attic insulation.Adding some could help on cooling costs. Also check you door’s weather stripping.
Graphic of partial screen capture of "Turn off computer." 5. Turn it off.Whether it’s turning off lights, or shutting down your computer when it’s not in use, over time, these small efforts can save you big energy dollars.

FSEC Advises Residents on Energy-Efficient Purchases During Tax-Free Week

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Florida residents can save money on energy-efficient appliances and other products during a tax-free holiday from Oct. 5 to 11, and advice from Florida Solar Energy Center researchers can help residents make purchases that will cut their energy bills.

The sales-tax holiday coincides with Energy Efficient Week and applies to new products with the “Energy Star” label that cost $1,500 or less. Residents will save money long after they receive the tax break because they will use less energy throughout the life of the products.

The Gossamer Wind series ceiling fans, developed at the Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida, are among the products that qualify for the tax savings. New refrigerators, washers and programmable thermostats also are eligible. (more…)