New Research Facility to Test Home Energy Improvements

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.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

FSEC Director Addresses 2014 Energy Use

— Taking Charge of Our Energy Future: Choosing the Better Pie

On January 10, 2006, FSEC Director Jim Fenton addressed the Florida Senate Committee on Communications and Public Utilities, commonly called the “Energy Committee,” with a positive message on how Florida can leverage federal tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency to significantly alter its outlook for electric energy use in 2014. Current Florida projections for electric energy use in 2014 call for Florida utilities to produce 75 billion killowatt-hours more energy than they produced in 2004, a 32% increase in energy use over the decade.

Fenton compared the “business as usual model” that results in Florida’s 2014 energy use projections against the results of an in-house FSEC study that illustrates how future electrical use could be dramatically reduced within Florida’s largest energy use sector — residences, which make up 51% of the total.

Pie chart: New Energy Generation Projected for 2014; pie chart1 - Natural Gas 72%, Coal, 28%; Pie chart 2 - Natural Gas 46%, Coal 28%, Homes Save 26%

The pie chart on the left presents Florida’s current projection for growth in electric energy generation between 2004 and 2014 and the one on the right presents an alternative if renewable energy and energy efficiency are aggressively pursued by the state, leveraging the federal tax credits. (All savings were assumed to come from growth in natural gas generation due to the rapidly rising cost of natural gas.)

These results come from studies conducted by FSEC using typical Florida homes in various Florida climates. Results are then projected to statewide savings. To qualify for the federal tax credits, individual home savings are significant at 50% of heating and cooling costs. As a result, total home energy savings exceed 40% in all Florida climates.

Summer Peak Day Demand for Tampa graph indicating 2.06 kW difference between 2004 Baseling and EERE (Tax Credit) Home

These individual savings, when projected to a statewide level, result in significant benefits to the state over the 10-year time period
between 2004 and 2014, as follows:

Total energy savings
24.7 TWh
Total consumer cost savings
$2.47 billion
Total fuel not purchased
$1.24 billion
Avoided capacity
1,669 MW
Avoided generation costs
$1.67 billion
New jobs
Tradable renewable energy credits (TRECs)
$420 million
CO2 savings
26.4 million tons

Dr. Fenton’s full power point presentation, “Taking Charge of Our Energy Future: Choosing the Better Pie” and the FSEC study that developed the data for the presentation, “Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Savings To Impact Florida’s Projected Energy Use in 2014” may be downloaded using the links below:

Taking Charge of Our Energy Future (Powerpoint, 2 MB)

Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Acrobat pdf icon pdf 1.4 MB, html)

Please follow and like us:

FSEC Receives Contract to Improve Efficiency of Central Air Conditioners

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), under funding from the State Technologies Advancement Collaborative, will participate in a research project to reduce the energy use of residential air-conditioning systems. The project will focus on the development of next-generation central air-conditioning performance ratings, development of a central air conditioner specifically for hot/humid climates, and contractor training. Southern Company Services will also contribute funds toward FSECs portion of the project. Read more

Please follow and like us: