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Construction Begins on FSU Sustainable Energy Research Facility
11/15/2011

Construction Begins on FSU Sustainable Energy Research Facility
Concrete external walls have been erected for Frostburg State University’s Sustainable Energy Research Facility, marking a more visible phase in the development of the facility that is rising in a site at the Allegany Business Center at FSU.

“SERF will provide a platform for researchers at Frostburg State University to make inroads on the national issue of energy independence with the development of sustainable sources of energy,” said FSU President Jonathan Gibralter. “I am thrilled to see this building taking shape."

The construction, equipping and staffing of SERF has been supported by two grants from the U.S. Department of Energy totaling nearly $1.6 million, obtained with the assistance of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), the representative to Maryland’s 6th District. Dr. Oguz Soysal and Hilkat Soysal from the Department of Physics and Engineering initiated this project as co-directors of the FSU Renewable Energy Center.

SERF will be a completely off-grid green building, generating its own electricity from solar and wind power. Solar thermal collectors and geothermal energy will be used for heating, cooling and air conditioning. SERF will accommodate the FSU Renewable Energy Center for extended research, education and community outreach programs on renewable energy applications developed by FSU faculty and their project partners. The facility will also serve as an example of an energy-efficient sustainable building for individuals such as homeowners, farmers or entrepreneurs interested in harvesting renewable energy sources or seeking energy security in Western Maryland or similar geographic locations.

The main objectives of the SERF project are:

• Design and construct a research facility to accommodate the FSU Renewable Energy Center

• Create a model building to demonstrate affordable sustainable energy generation options for residences, farms and small businesses in Western Maryland and the surrounding region

• Evaluate the effectiveness of various renewable energy sources available in Western Maryland and the surrounding region

The following outcomes are expected:

• Real-life experience gained from construction of an off-grid sustainable energy building in Western Maryland

• Research, education and community outreach activities to enhance the use of renewable energy sources for better environmental quality, energy security and economic development of the region

• Case studies and knowledge base to evaluate sustainable energy options in the region as a backup plan for catastrophic and disaster situations Academic Privatization LLC and general contractor Carl Belt Inc. are constructing the building. The architectural and engineering design has been performed by Maryland-based Sustainable Design Group and the Alexandria, Va., office of Vanderweil Engineers.

To learn more about SERF and FSU’s ongoing projects involving renewable energy, visit www.frostburg.edu/renewable or contact the Soysals at renewable@frostburg.edu.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu