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FSU Sustainable Energy Research Facility (SERF)

What is SERF?

The Sustainable Energy Research Facility is located in the Allegany Business Center park on the Frostburg State University campus. It supports the Appalachian region through education, outreach, research, and economic development partnerships to generate and transfer knowledge on sustainable energy. This includes the design, fabrication, testing, evaluation, and demonstration of materials, systems, and subsystems related to sustainable energy conversion technologies, including micro-grid security.

The SERF building was constructed at FSU thanks to two Department of Energy grants (construction and equipment) received with assistance from Mr. Roscoe Bartlett, former U.S. Representative for Maryland's 6th Congressional district. Construction began in 2011 and a ribbon cutting was held October 29, 2012 during Hurricane Sandy. The facility has been off the grid since March 23, 2015. 

SERF Building

Building Features

  • Passive solar design through building orientation, window placement, and thermal mass
  • 12 inch thick air tight concrete walls
  • 6200 square feet
  • Baseline power consumption 750W

Power Sources

  • Solar PV Awning
    1.26 kW, six panels 235 W each. Oriented for maximum output in winter.
  • Solar PV Roof
    99 panels total 25 kW fixed orientation for maximum efficiency in winter.
  • Wind
    7.5-10 kW output. Supports 22 kWh backup battery bank. Can provide heating for water storage.
  • Solar Thermal/PV Hybrid System
    Provides heated water and electrical 2kW from panels.
  • Solar Tracker
    3.6 kW, 12 high efficiency panels 315 W each. Tracks east to west.
  • Geothermal
    Closed loop 420 feet deep well. Three ton capacity. Supports temperature and humidity preconditioning of ERV.
  • Biomass
    Froholing Boiler system. UL 391-2006 rating. Residential rated only. During winter 2014-15, heated 3000 gallon tank to 140 F and maintained building at 72F.


  • Battery Bank #1
    82 kWh capacity
  • Battery Bank #2
    110 kWh capacity
  • Thermal
    Two 3000 gallon tanks plus 160 gallon tank

Building Energy Management and Control System

Designed and constructed in house using FSU student and graduate engineers. The Building Management and Control System was designed to allow for internal contrtol within a micro-grid system.