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.
Middle School Science Bowl student teams show their intellect under pressure and flex their problem-solving muscle – they solve math and science problems and demonstrate hands-on, engineering skills as they design and build model hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Just as President Barack Obama steps up his campaign for energy efficiency, the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) celebrated the opening of its new Hot Water Systems Laboratory in Cocoa.
Water heating is the second largest home consumer of energy, and the performance of some systems on the market today have never been tested under realistic and extreme weather conditions. Testing in the lab will help provide answers the solar industry, utilities and home builders are looking for to increase energy efficiency.
“This project is an important part of Building America’s goal of zero energy buildings by year 2020,” said Robert Hassett, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Heating and Cooling Technology Manager. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program funded the lab at FSEC, a research institute of the University of Central Florida.
The facility, which opened on Wednesday, will be a hub to test solar, tankless and conventional domestic water heating systems for efficiency.
“Solar water heating is an excellent way to save energy on water heating and reduce whole-house energy use, but utilities are specifically interested in knowing whether or not solar is providing relief to the power grid during peak times. Our testing will answer their questions,” says Subrato Chandra, the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership project manager. This information is key to utility “buy-in” to more aggressively sponsor solar water heating systems.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Sky Train Corporation (STC) and the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) at the University of Central Florida a $100,000 renewable energy collaborative grant. The grant’s primary focus is to fund the development an innovative solar interface to power a next-generation high-speed monorail that will be 80 percent more efficient than rubber-tired monorails in the U.S.
The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has been selected to receive more than $15 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) over a five-year period to conduct research in three major energy areas: fuel cells, industrialized housing, and building energy simulation.
FSEC, a research institute of the University of Central Florida (UCF), will lead nationwide teams of researchers from universities, DOE’s national laboratories and industry in the three projects. Read more