Building America Project Team: University of Central Florida

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Baseline Indoor Air Quality Field Study in Occupied New U.S. Homes: Hot-Humid and Mixed-Humid Climates

Photo of a man measuring outdoor air flow.
UCF staff member measuring outdoor air flow of a ventilation system.

Starting October 2017, the project is part of a national study aimed at characterizing indoor air quality in occupied homes. The homes will be up to current energy codes, and researchers will closely monitor the use and performance of mechanical ventilation systems in those homes. Indoor and outdoor air will be sampled for formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and particulates as part of the indoor air quality characterization.

Integrated HVAC Control Methods for Supplemental High Efficiency Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Existing Homes

Industry Partners: Mitsubishi, Aircycler

Starting October 2017, this project will further refine a new approach to using mini-split heat pumps in existing homes. The team will focus on using a single, centrally located mini-split heat pump as the primary system, while only using the existing, lower efficiency central system as needed.

Previous UCF research documented 34% average heating and cooling energy savings for Florida homes that utilize this novel approach. The integrated controller developed as part of this project is expected to enable additional savings and improve comfort. Best practice guidance for optimum design, installation, system control, and central system replacement at end-of-life will be developed to foster mainstream adoption of the approach.

Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction

Shown here are the two identical, side-by-side test homes that comprise FSEC's Flexible Residential Test Facility. Photo courtesy of Florida Solar Energy Center

The University of Central Florida team will work directly with Habitat for Humanity Affiliates and product manufacturers to:

  • Demonstrate and validate high efficiency, variable capacity, ducted and ductless space conditioning systems with optimized comfort distribution and latent (i.e., humidity) control.
  • Test a new "smart" ventilation system innovation aimed at saving space conditioning energy use while improving comfort, moisture, and peak load impacts.

This project will study advanced whole-house residential construction practices for production builders that enable 50% whole-house energy savings compared to houses built to code in hot/humid climates.

For more information, visit the Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction webpage.