Sustainable Energy Research Facility (SERF)

This Sustainable Energy Research Facility (SERF) at Frostburg State University is capable of generating 100% of its energy needs and is not be connected to the energy grid. The building begins with an energy efficient shell, passive solar design, generating heat during cooling season as well as daylight. This 6000 square foot classroom and research facility then adds an impressive array of equipment.

The building shell:

  • R25 walls – 8” tilt up concrete walls with 5” rigid foam insulation
  • R40 ceiling – 1” bio based urethane foam w/ blown in cellulose
  • R40 cathedral ceilings – 6” spray bio based high density closed cell urethane foam 
  • R10 Basement Slab- R 10 rigid foam under the entire slab

Energy generation:

  • 25kW tracking solar photovoltaic array
  • Bergey Excel R – 7.5-kW wind turbine
  • Skystream 3.7 – 1.8-kW wind turbine
  • Whisper 200 – 1-kW wind turbine 
  • Battery storage sufficient for 5-7 days of power without sunshine (Deka Unigy II)
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell
  • Computer control of energy supply and usage by Energy Management System (EMS)

HVAC systems:

  • Evacuated tube solar hot thermal panels
  • 8000 gallon thermal storage tank – water heated by solar thermal collectors, heats radiant floor and regenerating desiccant dehumidifier in summer and stores excess heat.
  • Radiant Floor Heating
  • Desiccant dehumidification
  • Cool beam radiant cooling system – this system circulates cool water through aluminum tubes. By keeping the temperature of the water above the dew point the units are able to cool the air without excessive condensation. By relying on natural convective currents these units have no moving parts.