Florida Atlantic, FAU Lab Schools Among Education Institutions Awarded Federal Funding to Establish New Energy Training Center

Miami Panorama

January 2024

To address the need to train the future clean energy workforce, Florida Atlantic University and FAU Lab Schools, in collaboration with the University of Miami, Universidad Ana G. Méndez in Puerto Rico, and other local institutions, have received a three-year, $900,000 grant from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its Building Training and Assessment Centers (BTAC) initiative made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Currently, Florida Atlantic and FAU Lab Schools are set to receive $75,000 from the grant.

The funding will be used to create the Southeast Building Training and Assessment Center (SEBTAC) led by the University of Miami researchers Ramin Moghaddass, Ph.D., principal investigator, and director, and Murat Erkoc, Ph.D., assistant director of SEBTAC. The new center will serve as an innovation and training hub for energy efficiency professionals including students, engineers, technicians, and architects.

“This project is a collaborative effort between local stakeholders and academic institutions in South Florida and Puerto Rico that will help expand knowledge of clean energy and energy efficiency through place-based strategies and capacity building,” stated Diana Mitsova, Ph.D., Schmidt College of Science, Department Chair of Urban and Regional Planning. The project aims to develop new tools and technologies using advanced data analytics and machine learning technologies to analyze sensor data to reveal insights on energy optimization. The findings will provide commercial and institutional buildings, community-serving buildings, and K-12 schools new ways to save energy, improve productivity, and reduce waste.

In addition, the center will also provide educational outreach for FAU Lab School students with energy efficiency training opportunities for in-demand, high-quality jobs. Participants will finish these programs well-prepared for roles as building energy managers, energy analysts, insulators, heating and HVAC professionals, and advanced manufacturing technicians for in-demand careers in clean energy sectors.

“Its focus is to prepare the workforce of tomorrow for increased access to clean energy technology,” explained Mitsova. “An exciting component of this project is the educational outreach to FAU High School students who will be provided with energy efficiency training opportunities.”

The final contract with the DOE is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

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