UCF EcoStruction Workshops Provide Steps Toward a Sustainable Career

By Sherri Shields
August 3, 2016

EcoStruction is a series of workshops offered by the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) that provides the first steps toward a sustainable career path in clean energy, sustainability or the environment.

Sponsored by CareerSource Brevard as part of the Clean Energy Jobs Accelerator Grant, participants of the pilot training program on August 1 – 5 were able to choose from five different courses:

  • Introduction to Construction Jobs & Energy Efficient Housing
  • Introduction to Sustainability
  • Introduction to Building Efficiency Performance
  • Introduction to Photovoltaic Systems Technician
  • Introduction to Photovoltaic Sales and Marketing

In addition to their chosen workshop, participants received Sustaining Service training by UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality to develop customer service and soft skills that are in high demand by Brevard employers.

Students constructing wall sections for an energy efficient dog house.
In the Introduction to Construction Jobs & Energy Efficient Housing workshop, students learn basic construction techniques and how to integrate energy efficiency features. Photo: Sherri Shields

“Combining Sustaining Service with specific occupational skills, and a layer of clean energy training, elevates these participants’ chances of securing employment,” said Valerie Carothers, CareerSource Brevard business liaison to the clean energy industry.

“Thanks to our training partners, Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, the UF/IFAS Extension Service in Brevard County, and UCF Continuing Education, we were able to offer a variety of clean energy topics, and so far the feedback has been fantastic,” said Colleen Kettles, program director for business and workforce development at FSEC.

“I started this class knowing nothing, and even had a hard time pronouncing photovoltaics, but now I feel like an expert,” said Joussette Calvo, a participant in the Introduction to Photovoltaic Sales and Marketing workshop.

Tesla electric car (silver with black racing stripes) with all doors and hood opened for workshop participants to take a look.
Students were able to see a Tesla electric car and learn how it integrates into a LIfeStyle solar-powered home. Photo: Nick Waters

Students also had the opportunity to see a Tesla electric car and hear from guest speaker, Larry Hufford, founder of homebuilder LifeStyle Homes, about how homes, photovoltaic systems and electric cars are integrating. “The LifeStyle solar-powered home generates its own electricity from sunshine. The Tesla then uses this sunshine-generated electricity to get its battery charge. This means that the Tesla essentially runs on sunshine!”

Instructor in front of seated students with an instructional model of a home in the background.
Instructor Tei Kucharski discusses Home Energy Ratings in the Introduction to Building Efficiency Performance workshop. Photo: Nick Waters

Although the EcoStruction workshops are only offered as part of this pilot training series, FSEC offers other courses that support clean energy career development. Visit http://ce.fsec.ucf.edu/ for a full course listing.

For additional training information, please contact Colleen Kettles, ckettles@fsec.ucf.edu.

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In the Field with Neil: Calculating Dewpoint Temperature

By Neil Moyer
October 13, 2014

Cold Drink with Lime Slices
Condensation  on my glass is OK, but not so much in my wall assembly.

Summer is nice and hot, and wet.  We build enclosures to keep us at a comfortable 55 degree dewpoint temperature (typically 75F and 50%RH).  Florida has an outside dewpoint temperature that is in the low 70s during the summer (and after a rain – shoots up to where the temperature and dewpoint temperature are nearly identical).  It is all about the dewpoint – when do things start sweating.  Buildings don’t sweat like people do, but they most certainly can have condensation problems.  Consider that nice glass of ice tea sitting on the patio table – yep it is condensation on the exterior of that glass.  (Dewpoint temperature is that special temperature when water in the vapor form turns into water in the liquid form.  It is a relative humidity of 100%.)  It is OK on my glass, but not so much in my wall assembly.  That can lead to “green buildings”; the one that no one likes except maybe lawyers and building forensic guys.  So understanding dewpoint temperature is important when we design and modify our buildings.

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Tei Explains It: Quality Assurance Checklist

By Tei Kucharski
October 13, 2014

Green check mark in white box with gray outline
Checklists are an essential tool when documenting for quality assurance.

Quality Assurance (QA) is not for the weak stomached any longer.

With all of the RESNET changes, and the changes that are on the horizon, QA has become one of the items that are priority at RESNET and with the builders that home energy raters are servicing. Documenting all of the homes with checklists and field review of both HERS Index Scored Homes and ENERGY STAR Homes is imperative.

When doing your final inspection, in addition to your blower door and duct testing, you should be checking the following and documenting with pictures:

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In the Field with Neil: RESNET Chapter 8 Blower Door Numbers

In July 2013 – Florida changed; some say for the better – others not so much so. Never the less, change has occurred. For raters working in Florida, it means that we now have the option in how we perform blower door testing. In the past, it was a requirement that for a registered rating – a multipoint test was needed. Now we can do a single point. (For me personally, I like the multipoint test. All the hard work is done; I only need to gather a few building pressures and corresponding flows. I get more info about the building enclosure. But this is for another blurb.)

So what does RESNET chapter 8 say…

802.1 ON-SITE INSPECTION PROTOCOL

There are three acceptable airtightness test procedures:

802.1.1 Single-point test: Measuring air leakage one time at a single pressure difference as described in section 802.5

802.1.2 Multi-point test: Measuring air leakage at multiple induced pressures differences as described in section 802.6

802.1.3 Repeated single-point test: The test is similar to the single point test, but the test is done multiple times for improved accuracy and estimating uncertainty as described in section 802.7

 

What are the highlights of each test process?

(Note that the house setup is identical no matter which test procedure you use – the difference is in the pressures and flows taken from the blower door.)

Let’s look at 802.5 Single-point test.

  1. Determine the baseline range – Fan sealed, record 5 different pressures (10 second average minimum) of house wrt outside. Find the difference between the highest and lowest values – This sets the Level of Accuracy.
  2. Determine the Pre-test baseline pressure – Average these 5 readings just taken may be used (or use baseline feature of meter – 10 second min).
  3. Determine the unadjusted building pressure and flow at 50 pascals – the building pressure to the nearest 0.1 pascal and the flow to the nearest cfm. Also record inside/outside temperatures, fan/meter models/serial numbers, fan configuration and type of test (pressurize/depressurize).
  4. Perform calculations to determine corrected CFM50. See the RESNET Standard section 802.5.9 for that process. Or my suggestion is to download the FREE EnergyConservatory Tectite 4.0 (wifi) software. You can select this test type and just input your numbers and out pops the result and you can save it for later viewing – like when the QA person comes around and asks to see your files…just saying.
  5. If you are using EnergyGauge USA (of course), enter the building pressure and corrected fan flow as shown. Click on Calculate/Post and it will do the calculations needed.

august

Now let’s look at 802.6 Multi-point test.

  1. Determine the Pre-test baseline pressure – Measure the house wrt outside using the 10 second average minimum (or use baseline feature of meter – 10 second min). Fan sealed during this step.
  2. Determine the unadjusted building pressures and flows– Take and record a minimum of 7 additional unadjusted building pressure and nominal fan flow measurements at target induced pressures which are approximately equally-spaced between 60 Pa (or the highest achievable induced building pressure) and 15 Pa. The building pressures to the nearest 0.1 pascal and the flows to the nearest cfm. Also record inside/outside temperatures, fan/meter models/serial numbers, fan configuration and type of test (pressurize/depressurize).
  3. Determine the Post-test baseline pressure – Measure the house wrt outside using the 10 second average minimum (or use baseline feature of meter – 10 second min). Fan sealed during this step
  4. Complete steps #4 & #5 above.
  • Note: the current version of EnergyGauge USA doesn’t do the required adjustments to the as measured building pressures and flows – therefore download the FREE EnergyConservatory Tectite 4.0 (wifi) software; it will perform all the calculations needed.

Lastly look at 802.7 Repeated single-point test.

  1. Determine the Pre-test baseline pressure – Average these 5 readings just taken may be used (or use baseline feature of meter – 10 second min).
  2. Determine the unadjusted building pressure and flow at 50 pascals – the building pressure to the nearest 0.1 pascal and the flow to the nearest cfm. Also record inside/outside temperatures, fan/meter models/serial numbers, fan configuration and type of test (pressurize/depressurize).
  3. Repeat steps #1 & #2 a minimum of 5 times.
  4. Calculate the Average Nominal CFM50 by summing the individual nominal CFM50 readings and dividing by the number of readings.
  5. Perform calculations to determine corrected CFM50. See the RESNET Standard section 802.7.9 for that process or use the FREE EnergyConservatory Tectite 4.0 (wifi) software. If you are using EnergyGauge USA, enter the building pressure and corrected fan flow. Click on Calculate/Post and it will do the calculations needed.
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Tei Explains It: August Rater Updates

Continue to stay up-to-date on the latest rater news and announcements.

NATE/RESNET HVAC Performance Verifier Exam

NATE is beta testing the NATE/RESNET HVAC Performance Verifier exam in July and August, 2013. Beta testing is done to make sure we have the right questions, we have the right approach and to receive industry input into the development. The beta exam is now available for HERS raters to take.

Several weeks ago, HERS raters were sent an invitation to take the NATE/RESNET exam at FSEC. The response on the registration page was great however the majority of those that signed up did not show up for the exam. In the future, if you will not be attending a class, test, etc that you have signed up in the FSEC store, please drop us an e-mail or call to cancel. This has been pretty disappointing since there was no cost for this exam.

The next exam is available on August 30 starting at 9:00 AM at FSEC. Registration is available at https://secure.fsec.ucf.edu/fsecstore/do/product/BldgExams/NATEexam

Rater Agreements

The EnergyGauge Office has been working on a HERS Rater packet. This packet should be going out in the early fall. This packet will contain specifics in what we expect from raters and what you can expect from the EnergyGauge Office. Please look for it in your mailboxes. You will have 30 days to execute the agreement after receipt.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance for the 2013 year is in full swing. I will be contacting you via e-mail and/or phone to schedule dates and times to get this done. I have complete confidence that you will cooperate fully with this process. Unfortunately, even if you do one home, I will have to get into that home. RESNET is enforcing this and if you do not respond the only choice that I have will be to suspend you from registering ratings. We will be adopting a formal policy regarding this situation and others concerning QA and will be included in your rater packet which should be going out to all HERS raters in the early fall.

Combustion Classes

You will have until January 1, 2015 to complete the combustion portion of your individual certifications. I know we have cancelled classes in the past because the exam was not ready. The exam is now ready and the fall class scheduled for November 19-21 will be held. Register at https://secure.fsec.ucf.edu/fsecstore/do/product/BLDG/Combust

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