COCOA, Feb. 18, 2010 – The Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida will administer a $10 million state program to install solar energy systems on 90 public schools.
The SunSmart Schools E-Shelters (Emergency Shelters) program, unveiled this week by Gov. Charlie Crist, is expected to boost Florida’s clean energy sector by providing job opportunities to local installers and vendors. The grant money will come from federal economic stimulus funds.
The solar electric systems, also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems, will provide power during outages, offset electricity costs to the school during normal operations and reduce greenhouse gases. Read more
As homeowners cope with rising utility bills and declining income, the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has responded to a challenge from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help produce homes 30 percent more energy efficient than typical new homes.
Additionally, these new homes will meet other stringent “quality criteria” for indoor air quality, durability and comfort set forth in DOE’s new Builders Challenge program (www.buildingamerica.gov/challenge).
The Builders Challenge is backed by two decades of research conducted by DOE’s Building America program (www.buildingamerica.gov) that proves this goal can be achieved cost-effectively all across the country. FSEC, located on the UCF Brevard campus in Cocoa, leads one of DOE’s Building America teams (www.baihp.org) and has worked with a dozen of the first builders to achieve the Builders Challenge.
FSEC researchers will co-host the unveiling of LifeStyle Homes’ first Builders Challenge home this Saturday, April 25, at 2 p.m. The public and home building community are invited to the event, which will include a tour and testing demonstrations. Look for signs in the Whispering Winds community off Dairy Road in West Melbourne. For directions, visit the LifeStyle Homes Web site: www.BuildingALifeStyle.com.
LifeStyle Homes – based in Melbourne, Fla. – is the first Brevard County builder to achieve the Builders Challenge with its new line of SunSmartSM models. FSEC’s Building America researchers provided technical assistance and third-party certification to LifeStyle Homes, which is required by the Builders Challenge criteria.
“We are extremely proud of our collaboration with LifeStyle Homes,” says Dr. Subrato Chandra, FSEC’s Building America program director. “We look forward to many more of these high-performance Builders Challenge homes being built. We plan to work alongside LifeStyle Homes every step of the way as they work toward our mutual goal of building zero energy homes, which provide their total energy needs from the power of the sun.”
Larry Hufford, founding partner of LifeStyle Homes, echoes the thoughts of many Builders Challenge participants.
“Increasing the energy efficiency of our homes offers solid benefits to our customers,” Hufford said. “It helps them save on their monthly and annual energy bills, and it is the right thing for us to do in moving our country toward energy independence.”
For more information, contact
Neil Moyer, FSEC Building America researcher, 321-638-1409
Jake Luhn, LifeStyle Homes, 321- 727-8188 extension 303