UCF Researchers Validate Simple Method to Minimize COVID Spread in Single-Family Home

Young woman waking up in her bedroom
Credit: Getty Images

COCOA, FL, Aug. 4, 2021—Your home may be the most comfortable place to be during an epidemic, until someone’s infected. If someone in your household gets COVID-19 or another airborne disease, how can you prevent it from spreading to others in your home? This question is the basis of a recently completed research project at the FSEC Energy Research Center, a research institute at the University of Central Florida.

Using a full-scale laboratory home, UCF researchers evaluated methods to create an isolation zone in a single-family home where an infected person could remain separated from the rest of the occupants. The researchers found that a basic isolation zone for a contagious person could be created with little cost and effort.

They will present their findings in an upcoming webinar on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 3 p.m. EST.

FSEC’s Buildings Research Division has been investigating energy, moisture and airflow dynamics in buildings since 1980.  Researchers pitched the idea to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The U.S. Department of Energy provided the funding for the study, while NREL provided oversight.

The idea for the research project originated from the need to solve a problem many people have recently faced.

“After reading a story about the efforts a wife and child were making to stay healthy while caring for an infected husband in their home, we felt we might be able to help these situations by applying what we know about how air moves in homes,” says Danny Parker, a principal research scientist at the FSEC Energy Research Center. “The risks of airborne COVID-19 transmission are much greater indoors than outdoors, and the need for a means of control was great.”

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WEBINARS: New Building Energy Conservation Code Changes. Register by July 14.

Florida Building Code Energy Conservation Seventh Edition (2020)The 7th Edition Florida Building Code (2020) includes a number of changes to the Energy Conservation Code that will impact how new Florida buildings are constructed, lit, and controlled. Learn about the new changes and earn continuing education credits by attending live webinar training courses offered by the FSEC Energy Research Center. Register by July 14*.

  • RESIDENTIAL: July 21 (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
    Overview of the 7th Edition (2020) Residential Florida Energy Conservation Code [Live Webinar]
    In this 2-hour class, topics include Prescriptive, Performance and Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance options, and discussions of residential building air leakage testing, duct leakage testing and mechanical ventilation requirements. CILB CEUs: 2 credits; CILB# 0613599; Provider# 0000859. Cost: $99 | Register
  • COMMERCIAL: July 22 (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
    Florida Commercial Energy Code Compliance: Methods, Tools and Verification [Live Webinar]
    In this 4-hour class, topics include an examination of building energy use contributors, introduction to the 7th Edition (2020) Florida Energy Conservation Code commercial provision changes, review of Commercial Energy Code compliance methods and tools, running sample calculations to assess the effects of specific improvements on energy efficiency and code compliance, and verifying code forms and identifying common errors. CILB CEUs: 4 credits; CILB# 0613600; Provider# 0000859.
    Cost: $199 | Register

Explore all of FSEC Energy Research Center’s continuing education courses at https://energyresearch.ucf.edu/education/continuing-education/

*A minimum of 8 registrations needed by July 14th to guarantee the class is held.

For more information, contact Sherri Shields at sherri@fsec.ucf.edu, 321-638-1019.



Dynamic and Responsive DER Education Solutions for Building, Fire, and Safety Department Officials

IREC and partners announce the launch of a three-year, $2.1 million project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), to reduce barriers to widespread adoption of distributed energy resources (DERs) by providing education and resources to expand the knowledge of 30,000 professionals. Learn more: https://tinyurl.com/yj5tmp69

“The clean energy industry is rapidly evolving and requires that those responsible for code enforcement and quality control have access to the most recent technical advances. Training is a core mission of FSEC, and we’re excited to contribute our expertise in solar-plus-storage and alternative fuel vehicles as part of this essential team,” said James Fenton, Director of FSEC Energy Research Center at the University of Central Florida.

Training Safety Officials on Distributed Energy Technologies


Virtual EnergyWhiz Award Winners

If you missed the live EnergyWhiz Awards announcement, you can see the recording at: https://vimeo.com/546603874  or download the list of winners.

You still have the opportunity to view all of the student Projects or see the wide range of energy topics in the Exhibit Hall at: https://events.energywhiz.com/.

Check out the Special Topics section where you’ll Explore the Lagoon, Navigate the Food, Energy and Water Nexus, learn how to start an Electrathon program, or see A Hurricane Able House: Solar + Storage + Resiliency, just to name a few.

A Bright Future for EnergyWhiz: May 3–7, 2021

EnergyWhiz logo with sun on right and laptop on leftFSEC Energy Research Center (FSEC-ERC) presents its annual K-12 STEAM event in a virtual format this year. Visit https://events.energywhiz.com/ to see all of the amazing student projects, exhibits, activities, and special topic sessions.

Kelley Smith Burk, director of the Florida Energy Office at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will open EnergyWhiz on Monday, May 3 at 10 a.m. via a Live Zoom broadcast.

FSEC-ERC Director James Fenton will follow with a presentation about how EnergyWhiz students can take charge of their energy future.

Each day, two new special energy-related topic sessions will be featured, ranging from sustainability and transportation to food and water. Learn about what individuals can do personally to combat climate change and how to find a path to an energy career.

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