COCOA, June 5, 2017—Nearly 50 schools across Florida—from Key West and Tallahassee—participated in this year’s EnergyWhiz competition last month at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center.
More than 115 teams, which included nearly 500 students, prepared their projects for competition: model-sized solar cars for the Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), solar ovens for the Cook-off, full-scale photovoltaic panels for Energy Innovations, energy-efficient animal homes for the Critter Comfort Cottage competition, and go-cart-sized electric cars for the Electrathon.
In the longest running event, JSS, cars underwent inspection, design judging, time-trials, and new this year, team interviews. “Questions from judges may sometimes be intimidating, but interviews give students the opportunity to shine when they’ve put their heart and soul into a project,” said Guytri Still, JSS lead design judge and former middle school science teacher.
COCOA, FL–Elementary, middle and high school students—from Florida’s Panhandle to the Keys—will show off their solar cars, cookers and inventions during EnergyWhiz on Saturday, May 13th.
EnergyWhiz is a day-long event that showcases sustainable and renewable energy-focused products with real-world purpose that are designed, built and demonstrated by teams of students. Each project category requires students to share what they have learned with their peers, the public and industry professionals who also serve as project evaluators. Creative thinking, scientific know-how and effective communication skills all come into play at EnergyWhiz.
The 15th annual event is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Cocoa campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Eastern Florida State College, at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), 1679 Clearlake Road. The event is free and open to the public.
DJ Chill Will—the world’s first solar-powered DJ and also a full-time, middle school environmental science teacher—will be emceeing the event in the morning. He will also be demonstrating photovoltaic equipment components and functions, teaching
scientific concepts behind photovoltaic technology, and educating on the applicability of using renewable energy to reduce environmental impacts. Food trucks and a showcase of electric vehicles will also be at EnergyWhiz.
Competitions will include: Junior Solar Sprint, Energy Innovations, Solar Energy Cook-off, and the Electrathon.
The Junior Solar Sprint is a competition that challenges elementary and middle-school students to design, build and race model solar cars. Awards are given based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed.
The Solar Energy Cook-off challenges students in grades 4 through 12 to design and build solar cookers and cook a recipe of their own creation using the power of the sun. In Top Chef-style, each dish will be judged by a panel of experts based on taste, ingredients, presentation and creativity.
The Energy Innovations program is a full-scale solar electric design and marketing challenge for middle and high school students. Each participating team designs and constructs a product or artistic work powered by photovoltaics, also called solar electric cells. Teams also create marketing pieces—such as brochures, fliers, and posters—to accompany their products.
The Critter Comfort Cottage competition challenges students in grades 4 through 12 to demonstrate their understanding of energy efficient and eco-friendly building design for a pet of their choosing.
The Electrathon is a competition for high school students and older. The go-cart-type vehicles, powered by an electric motor and batteries, must be skillfully designed, built and driven to maximize distance traveled within a given time limit.
This year’s EnergyWhiz sponsors include: Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy, Publix Super Market Charities, Airport Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, American Muscle Car Museum, LifeStyle Homes, Solar-Ray, Inc., and Smart Electric Power Alliance.
“The success of EnergyWhiz is in large part due to our volunteers and sponsors,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 Education Director at FSEC. “Whether you can spare a couple of hours or the whole day, you can help make EnergyWhiz a continued success.” Volunteers and sponsors can sign-up at: http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/energywhiz.
It’s a growing phenomenon in Florida! From the Panhandle to the Keys, EnergyWhiz is drawing in students fascinated with renewable energy technology.
EnergyWhiz, which includes six separate competitions, is a venue for students in grades fourth through 12th to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused competitions. At this year’s 13th annual event on May 2, more than 650 energized students from across Florida converged at the University of Central Florida’s FSEC in Cocoa to showcase their renewable energy projects and participate in the competitions. “We like making things run on the sun,” said Conner Dale, a student from Edgewood Junior Senior High. “It’s fun to interact with other students from across the state,” added Raydn Hall.
Tallahassee, Gainesville and Orlando hosted smaller EnergyWhiz Expos this year, leading up to the major EnergyWhiz event. “In an effort to reach more students, we’re encouraging teachers across Florida to host regional EnergyWhiz Expos, and then the winners of the expos will advance to the state level and compete at FSEC,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 education director at FSEC.
Energized Students Demonstrate Skills at the EnergyWhiz Olympics on the Space Coast
The 12th annual EnergyWhiz Olympics will bring together students from across Florida, converging in Cocoa, to showcase their renewable energy projects. Student teams will race solar cars, demonstrate creative solar and hydrogen projects, present solar oven designs and cooking skills, and reveal energy-efficient pet homes, all highlighting their energy knowledge and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).
NEW: An Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive—which will include a Nissan Leaf—will be available for adults to experience.
Florida students have creative ideas for solving some of our world’s greatest energy challenges, and their renewable energy solutions were demonstrated at the EnergyWhiz Olympics – a series of day-long activities dedicated to students with an interest in alternative fuel technologies.
Nearly 700 students throughout Florida converged at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa on Saturday, May 9, 2009 to compete in the seventh-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics. Events included the new Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, a solar cooker and cooking contest; the Junior Solar Sprint, model-size solar car races; the High School Hydrogen Sprint, model-size hydrogen fuel cell car races; and Energy Innovations, a full-scale solar electric design challenge.
Sunsational EarthFest, a new Earth Day event, will help residents learn about renewable energy, resource conservation and the environment in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) and the Brevard Community College Green Team will host the event on Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Everyone is invited, and admission is free.
Learn from the experts how to cut your energy costs without sacrificing comfort, the benefits of green roofs, the basics of solar energy and the latest research in alternative fuel technology. Tours of the center will also be offered.
Exhibitors and vendors will offer presentations, demonstrations and activities.
Solar energy, environmental and educational exhibits — including various types of alternative fuel vehicles — will be on display, and a farmer’s market will feature local organic food. Activities for kids include a bicycle rodeo, solar boat demonstrations, a bouncy house and face painting. In addition, the Middle School Science Bowl finalist teams will race their model hydrogen fuel cell cars.
The BCC Green Team will present free educational and environmental films, “Gimme Green,” “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Kilowatt Ours.” The BCC Planetarium and Observatory will present two showings of the movie “A Living Sea,” which is shown in IMAX, at a discounted rate of $3.
Sunsational EarthFest activities will be located throughout the north end of the Brevard Community College Cocoa Campus and at the Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa.
Sunsational EarthFest is sponsored by the Florida Solar Energy Center, the BCC Green Team, Bright House Networks, FLORIDA TODAY and SolarWorld.
The Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida is accepting applications for the 2008 Florida Energy Achievement Award and the Florida Utility Energy Achievement Award. The two awards recognize significant achievements in the efficient utilization of energy, energy conservation, energy education or renewable energy in facilities or programs.
A Florida utility and a Florida company, organization or individual that demonstrate statewide leadership and significant accomplishments in sustainability and energy savings will be honored. Last year’s recipient was Ann C. Wilkie, associate professor at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). She was recognized for her extensive work in alternative energy – creating bio-energy from animal waste – and her leadership in promoting awareness and understanding of renewable energy and sustainable practices. Previous award winners also include Walt Disney World and Sarasota County Government. There were no applicants last year for the Florida Utility Energy Achievement Award.
Results recognized through the awards could include reducing energy use, water conservation, renewable energy generation, the use of alternative fuel vehicles and renovations or retrofits with energy-saving measures. Other results could include reducing pollution, innovative energy-saving performance contracts or utility energy services contracts, having a major impact on public education regarding energy issues or playing a prominent role in educating or disseminating information related to energy conservation.
Applications for the 2008 awards must be received at the Florida Solar Energy Center by January 16, 2009.
A four-day conference on the use and development of renewable energy in the
Caribbean will be held in Cape Canaveral from June 3 to 6. “Renewables: The Road to Sustainability” is the seventh program in a series sponsored by Sustainable Applications for Tropical Island States (SATIS) and the Caribbean Solar Energy Society.
Bill Young of the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center is serving as technical contact for the conference, which will be of special interest to Caribbean government officials and people doing business in the Caribbean islands.
Solar energy technology offers significant potential as a major energy source in the area, as well as growing opportunities for jobs such as contractors and installers. Topics of special interest to government officials include energy costs and how to reduce them and using renewable energy as a critical power supply during energy outages and disasters. Business sessions include discussions of the latest markets for renewable energy in the Caribbean. Read more
A free presentation for the general public on disaster preparedness using renewable energy technologies will be presented at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa on Thursday evening, February 22.
The event will be held in the FSEC auditorium at 1679 Clearlake Road in Cocoa, on the campus of Brevard Community College and UCF in Cocoa. The doors will be open at 5:45 p.m. and the hour-long presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m.
The presentation by Bill Young, a researcher and disaster relief expert at FSEC, will focus on two important questions: what do you need to do to prepare for an emergency situation, and what are the benefits of using renewable energy technologies? Solar and other forms of renewable energy offer many benefits to individuals and communities after disasters ranging from hurricanes and severe storms to terrorism or other major calamities, providing power for emergency lighting, medical facilities, shelters and other critical needs. Read more