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.
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.