Neither the cloudy forecast nor pandemic concerns were enough to discourage the teams that came together on Saturday, April 30th for the 2022 EnergyWhiz event!
EnergyWhiz is a daylong celebration of sustainable solutions, creativity and engineering skills, where students from throughout Florida came together to showcase their renewable energy projects. This year, elementary, middle, and high school teams designed and built everything from solar-powered electric vehicles to sun-powered cookers and “green” homes for pets and other critters to showcase and share at EnergyWhiz.
The event, presented this year by sponsor Florida Power and Light Company, is hosted each year at the FSEC Energy Research Center, a research institute at the University of Central Florida, located at the Cocoa Campus of the UCF and Eastern Florida State College.
This year’s EnergyWhiz competitors participated in one of six categories: Junior Solar Sprint, Critter Comfort Cottage, Energy Inspired Art, Energy Innovations, Energy Transfer Machine and the Solar Energy Cook-off. Each competition category incorporates some type of energy efficiency measure or renewable energy technology.
The energy center is working on cleantech research and development projects, such as heat pump water heating. FSEC director, James Fenton, states how FSEC has partnered with the City of Orlando to achieve its ambitious energy plans.
The City of New Smyrna Beach is considering solar and renewable energy resources for their municipal facilities, and has hired FSEC’s interdisciplinary team of energy analysts and solar engineers to conduct energy audits and solar feasibility assessments for 18 facilities.
The energy audits will identify cost-effective measures for reducing building energy consumption in order to optimize the expenditures for solar equipment. The solar feasibility assessment will detail the best options for renewable energy, including sizing, installation costs, maintenance costs, system life expectancy, and return on investment. FSEC will provide recommendations for reducing the city’s overall electrical demand and also for developing attainable goals for incremental solar and renewable energy installations.
The 2017 Florida Legislature, through HB 1021, amended the Solar Energy Standards Act of 1976 that governs the certification of solar energy systems manufactured or sold in Florida.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
Q:How does HB 1021 specify the certification of solar energy systems that are sold or manufactured in the State of Florida?
A: HB 1021 specifies solar energy system certification as follows:
“(d) All solar energy systems manufactured or sold in the state must meet the standards established by the center and shall display accepted results of approved performance tests in a manner prescribed by the center, unless otherwise certified by an engineer licensed pursuant to ch. 471 using the standards contained in the most recent version of the Florida Building code.”
HB 1021 defines the ‘center’ to mean “the Florida Solar Energy Center of the Board of Governors.”
Chapter 471 (F.S.) specifies the manner by which licensed Florida engineers are authorized to submit design documents to local code enforcement jurisdictions for permitting as follows:
471.0195 Florida Building Code training for engineers.—All licensees actively participating in the design of engineering works or systems in connection with buildings, structures, or facilities and systems covered by the Florida Building Code shall take continuing education courses and submit proof to the board, at such times and in such manner as established by the board by rule, that the licensee has completed any specialized or advanced courses on any portion of the Florida Building Code applicable to the licensee’s area of practice. The board shall record reported continuing education courses on a system easily accessed by code enforcement jurisdictions for evaluation when determining license status for purposes of processing design documents. Local jurisdictions shall be responsible for notifying the board when design documents are submitted for building construction permits by persons who are not in compliance with this section. The board shall take appropriate action as provided by its rules when such noncompliance is determined to exist.
History.—s. 38, ch. 2000-356; s. 23, ch. 2002-299; s. 12, ch. 2009-195.
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).
“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.