Making Homes Smarter, Cooler and Cleaner

UCF researchers are investigating methods to retrofit air conditioning systems to help reduce costs and carbon emissions while maintaining comfort.

According to UCF Today, the good news is that UCF researchers are doing something to soften blows to our budgets and to our environment. The Department of Energy (DOE) chose nine leading organizations in the Southeast to collaborate on a Building America initiative to find scalable retrofitting solutions to improve the performance of residential HVAC systems and decarbonize homes. UCF’s team at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa, Florida, will lead the research.

FSEC has a history with the DOE dating back to the mid-1990s. Among its eclectic successes, FSEC’s recommendations have become energy-efficient building codes, and their flagship program, the Lakeland Zero Energy Home — where the amount of energy the building uses does not exceed the amount it produces — is the basis for a national Zero Energy Homes program. FSEC also developed one of the first energy-efficient ceiling fans, used in millions of homes — UCF’s most productive patent — and saving consumers nationwide more than $20 million each year.

“The Department of Energy knows that we specialize in hot, humid climate,” says Sherri Shields, FSEC’s communications director “and that our goals, and experience of 44 years in building science, align with their goals of improving a building’s health, safety, comfort, durability and energy efficiency. This project is another step in that direction.”

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