Building Efficiency

Energy Efficient Building Systems

Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC) Expertise and Resources


Powell Center for Construction & Environment: Research organization to resolve environmental problems associated with planning and architecture activities and to determine optimum materials and methods for use in minimizing environmental damage. Research areas include:

  • Design of large scale renewable energy systems, particularly solar PV systems, for commercial projects
  • Optimizing renewable energy system implementation strategies based on local bioclimatic conditions
  • Design and control optimization of net zero energy buildings and homes
  • Green building assessment and certification
  • Passive cooling, heating, lighting and ventilation of buildings
  • Deconstruction and Building Materials Reuse
  • Sustainable Architecture
  • Urban and Community Planning

Eco-friendly Sustainable Construction Practic

  • Assessment of effects of green building practice on the economic aspects of construction
  • Life-cycle analysis of building construction

Building Science Research and Development Program at Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)

The program covers virtually every aspect of building science. Diverse program activities, led by over twenty scientists and engineers with cumulative experience of over 300 years, provide strong capabilities in

  • Integration of the building system to produce high-quality and energy-efficient homes, schools and commercial buildings including a number of zero energy homes
  • Partnering with home builders resulting in over 180,000 high performance homes built in the last 10 year
  • Diagnostic field testing
  • Development and enhancement of detailed building energy simulation programs, e.g., Energy Plus for DOE
  • Development of user-friendly building energy analysis software (e.g., EnergyGauge) used for energy code compliance, energy ratings, green building compliance, and accredited by the IRS and DOE for tax credit/deduction qualification software
  • Long-term performance monitoring and equipment testing in controlled laboratory facilities
  • Transferring the research to the marketplace through curriculum development and continuing education workshop development and delivery
  • Training, certification and quality assurance of building energy raters and weatherization agencies for the Florida Department of Community Affairs

FSEC also conducts research on building components, including heating and air conditioning equipment, air distribution systems, insulation envelopes, moisture transport in buildings, efficient windows, lighting, water heating systems, miscellaneous electric loads, control systems, and building integration of solar technologies.

Building America Industrialized Housing Project (BAIHP) :The partnership seeks to reduce the energy use of industrialized buildings by up to 50% in a cost effective manner while enhancing indoor air quality, durability and productivity.

Research on Net Zero Energy (NZE) construction, Zero Energy Buildings, and green buildings

Solar Decathlon: An award winning, multi-disciplinary student project, led by multidisciplinary faculty from architecture, engineering and construction management, to design, build and transport an 800-ft2 modular residential house to Washington, D.C., competing in a U.S. Department of Energy sponsored international competition.

Energy Efficient Schools : This program performs a number of studies examining various technologies’ potential to reduce energy use, cost, and improve the learning environment.

Green Standards: Green standards go beyond just energy efficiency and attempt to rate a building effort with regard to the total environmental stewardship of a project.

Entrepreneurship in Green Building Technology

Outreach and Education in Sustainable Building Systems Technology

  • Sustainable Green Living Program, a student-centered learning program run by FIU Emerging Green Builder chapter, to use FIU solar house and web to foster learning and public awareness of green building systems.
  • Multi-disciplinary certificate program in sustainable building systems to provide the future designers, practitioners and users to apply the green building technology.

Educational classes for the built environment provided by UF/TREEO center.

Program for Resource Efficient Communities (PREC): PREC supports the implementation of resource efficient building construction and community development practices through training programs, academic courses and direct consulting. PREC outreach efforts has already helped thousands of licensed built environment professionals across Florida obtain their required continuing education units while promoting resource efficient design and construction practices. These course selections are continually expanding to meet Florida’s needs.

UF – FL House Learning Center: A model home and landscape featuring readily available environmentally friendly materials and methods for new and existing Florida homes and yards.

Core Faculty

Faculty University Expertise Position/Department
Shu-Shing Chen FIU Distributed Multimedia Database Systems; Database Management; Multimedia Data Mining; Multimedia Communications and Networking; GIS Professor, Computer and Information Sc.
Gene Farmer FIU Building Codes; Construction Techniques; Legal Aspects of Construction; Construction Materials Professor Emeritus, Construction Management
Ronald Baier FIU Structural and Geotechnical Engineering Professor Emeritus, Construction Management
Marilys Nepomechie FIU Cultural identity and architectural form Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Professor of Architecture
Shahin Vassigh FIU Improving structures and technology education by developing alternative teaching pedagogies that utilizes digital media. Professor, Department of Architecture
Thomas Spiegelhalter FIU Large-scale sustainability master planning and consultancies Associate Professor, Department of Architecture
Sarah Sherman FIU Sustainable design Assistant Professor, Department of Interior Design
Chris Edrington FSU Modeling; Power electronic topologies Professor, Electrical and Computer Eng.
Jim Zheng FSU Energy storage and conversion materials and devices Sprint Eminent Scholar Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor, Electrical and Computer Eng.
Hui (Helen) Li FSU Power conversion; Regenerative motor drive; Grid-interactive inverter Professor, Electrical and Computer Eng.
Brenton Greska FSU/FAMU Sustainable Energy Science & Engineering Assistant Research Scientist, Mechanical Engineering
Juan Ordonez FSU Thermodynamic optimization of advanced energy systems; Solar-thermal energy systems Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Justin Kramer FSU Off Grid Zero Emission Building Research Engineer, Energy & Sustainability Center
Richard C. Feiock FSU Local governance; Institutional choice; Economic development; Environmental regulation Augustus B. Turnbull Professor & The Jerry Collins Eminent Scholar Chair, Public Administration
Chris Coutts FSU Built environment and ecologically-sensitive land use practices on community health and health behavior Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning
Robin K. Vieira UCF/FSEC Green building technologies and green building standards Director, Buildings Research
Philip Fairey UCF/FSEC Building science Deputy Director
Lixing Gu UCF/FSEC Software development for building energy analysis and graphical user interface; HVAC system component modeling; Indoor contaminant simulations. Principal Research Engineer, Buildings Research
Danny Parker UCF/FSEC Collecting and analyzing residential and commercial buildings data Principal Research Engineer, Buildings Research
James Cummings UCF/FSEC Training and developing training materials and programs, on the topics of energy use, air flows, duct leakage, diagnostic methods, and indoor air quality. Program Director, Buildings Research
David Beal UCF/FSEC Research analyst for building science projects including radiant barrier technology, roof material testing, ventilation studies, and industrialized housing Research Engineer, Buildings Research
Eric Martin UCF/FSEC Provide technical assistance to the home building industry to improve the environmental performance of homes Program Director, Buildings Research
Jeffrey Sonne UCF/FSEC Residential research studies; HVAC monitoring and audit studies; Roofing studies; Home energy ratings; Energy use analyses and AC system sizing for EPA Energy Star program Sr. Research Engineer, Buildings Research
Ni-Bin Chang UCF Environmental and hydrologic systems analysis. Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering
Manoj Chopra UCF Pervious Pavements and Storm water Harvesting Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering
David Norvell UCF Open Energy Information System, an open-source, Web-based automated utility metering and reporting system Assistant Vice President Sustainability Initiatives
Winston Schoenfeld UCF Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), enhanced light extraction and packaging Professor, College of Optics and Photonics
Jun Wang UCF Power and energy efficient computer system Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Lei Zhai UCF Develop cheap, efficient and stable organic photovoltaics that can be put onto windows, and energy storage devices that can store the electricity incase the build is cut off the grid. Professor, NanoScience Technology Center
Jenshan Lin


UF Wireless low power sensors and sensor network; Detection of building occupants’ activity level for dynamic control of energy use for building energy efficiency improvement. Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Wendell Porter UF Residential construction techniques and materials; Building products testing; Training materials on Florida building code, HVAC and IEQ issues Senior Lecturer, AOM Undergraduate Coordinator, Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Sumi Helal UF Pervasive Computing, Mobile Computing and networking and Internet Computing; Technology smart house Professor, Director & Principle Investigator Mobile & Pervasive Computing Lab., Computer and Information Science and Engineering
Pierce Jones UF Built environment training and consulting services; Conducts applied research, supports related academic courses, partners with “green” certification programs certification programs Director, Program for Resource Efficient Communities
Mark Jamison UF Leadership and strategy; Competition and pricing; Cost analysis; Universal service Director, Public Utility Research Center
Herbert A. Ingley UF Design of building systems; Energy studies; Energy conservation measures design services; Performance contracting consulting services, Utility master planning; Prototype design Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng.
Prabir Barooah UF Control of interconnected systems; Distributed algorithms and their performance limits in large scale sensor networks; Design of decentralized control algorithms. Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng.
S. Sherif UF Thermal systems design and optimization; Heat transfer; Refrigeration and air conditioning Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng.
Abdol Chini UF Construction quality management; Fiber composites; Recycling and reuse of construction materials; Deconstruction Associate Dean and Professor, Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction
Ian Flood UF Neural Network Based Simulation of Engineering Processes (including modeling the Thermal Performance of Residential Buildings); Computer Based Modeling of Construction Processes; and development of Web and Interactive CD-ROM based Educational material. Professor, Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction
James G. Sullivan UF Sustainable construction; Worker productivity training; Project management; USGBC LEED based initiatives; Waste diversion/recycling Director of Undergraduate Program, Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction
Paul Oppenheim UF Air conditioning systems; Indoor air quality; Energy efficiency Holland Professor, Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction
Robert Ries UF Green building; Sustainable Development; Life Cycle Assessment in the construction process Professor, Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction
Svetlana Olbina UF Performance of building envelopes; Curtain wall systems; Shading devices; Day lighting; Sustainable design and construction; Computer-aided design Assistant Professor, Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction
Stanley Russell USF Design and construction; Design Quality; Urban redevelopment; Renovation Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Community Design
Theodore Green USF Urban/community design planning; Economic development/community revitalization; Housing/residential development strategies; Development regulations Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Community Design


  • Extensive laboratories, teaching spaces, test-bed houses
  • The Wayne K. and Lyla L. Masur HVAC Laboratory: The Laboratory includes an air-conditioning demonstration facility, a cooling tower simulator, an air-water heat pump system, and a chilled-water system with an artificial load simulator for studies on performance of refrigeration systems.
  • Distributed Control Systems Laboratory: Equipped with wireless sensor network that are used to test distributed estimation algorithms for building control applications. The laboratory also houses a testbed with two autonomous ground vehicles (Pioneer P3-AT robots) that are used for testing networked estimation and control algorithms.
  • Computational facilities
  • Human Factors Lab: Learning Systems Institute allows researchers to apply advanced technology to further research on human behavior focused on usability testing, focus group analysis and experimental studies. From a usability stand point, the Human Factors Lab provides tools for assessing usability from paper prototyping to beta testing, this lab makes it possible to design, implement, and test current research projects. The lab is a place to archive meetings and focus groups. Focus groups are used to gain insight into the user’s feelings about a specific product or interface, typically by speaking about it and testing it first-hand. The lab is also equipped to conduct experimental studies. Experimental studies allow researchers to examining the user´s interaction with a certain program or interface.
  • Off-Grid Zero Emissions Buildings (OGZEB): Operates as a completely solar-powered building that achieves LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design-New Construction) platinum certification. The building serves as a prototype for developing and implementing cutting edge, alternative energy technologies in both residential and commercial settings.
  • Net Zero Energy (NZE) construction, Zero Energy Buildings, and green buildings at several campuses
  • LEED buildings at various campuses
  • Building Energy, Environment, and Conservation Systems (BEECS) Laboratory: The Lab was established in response to the needs for research and education of next-generation engineers and citizens of Florida who will be engaged in environment-conscious design and utilization of sustainable building system technology. The lab capability includes building energy auditing system, low temperature (frosting) heat exchanger test beds, and solar energy utilization integration.
  • Whole building integration of energy efficient and resilient building designs through the “Wall of Wind” hurricane engineering research