Electricity-free water heating system developed by one of USF's first alumni

The system uses heat from air conditioning systems to quickly heat water without using energy from the water tank itself. This is called a "hot water producing recovery product" as it uses existing products in [image-1]the home. Overall the system saves 60 to 90% of hot water costs. Additionally it has no pump, electric power or adenine required, making it a low cost and high efficiency product. “If everyone in America replaced their current water heating system with the ZeroEnergy system it would reduce 6% of the nations total energy consumption,” Hebert said.

[image-2]In 2003 the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the product the Highest Efficiency Package AC Unit. Compared against other water heating systems, ZeroEnergy has the lowest adjusted total cost over a 13 year period, coming in at only $1,105.

In the past three years the company has installed over 300 ZeroEnergy water heaters in the Tampa Bay Area. Hebert has also had his product installed in Hillsborough County School Systems, Universities in California, Frito Lay Companies and Military bases, including McDill Air Force Base.

Not only has Hebert created the ZeroEnergy water heating system he has also created the ERV Max energy recovery system, the Dual Source geothermal efficiency system, and the Ice Plus production optimizer. All of the systems increase production and save energy in the home and are part of a greener tomorrow.

Hebert has publicized his product and company through home shows, energy shows, door hangers and direct mail to his customers. On October 8th the company came out to the USF Going Green Expo. Two of his employees where there  to show off the hot water heaters. Jason Malouf and Bryan Freese were both USF graduates in 2001 and 1999 and were also a part of the inaugural football team at USF.

Wearing their green and gold  Bulls shirts, the two awed crowds with an example of how the ZeroEnergy product works. A hot water heater was conducting heat from a window air conditioning unit, which generates much less energy than  a typical home unit. Since home owners are already paying to use their air conditioning system the product adds no extra cost.

A dirt road and a “swampland better fit for ants and alligators than for students and faculty”, these were the humble beginnings of the University of South Florida. Nevertheless, the doors opened on September 26, 1960 when fewer than 2,000 students attended classes in only five buildings.

The University was founded in a time of change, an era of social and political reforms that forever changed the face of America. Dreams were held high and new ideas were welcomed with open arms. From Bob Dylan to Ella Baker society was making a made dash for change. The USF Campus was not far from that hub of culture that surrounded the Sixties. Fowler Avenue may have still been a dirt road but big things were happening on the small campus.

Walking  in the windstorms that once plagued the university was Thomas Hebert, one of the first USF students. Nostalgia set in as Hebert fondly recalled his U number, coming in at only 1900. Hebert got involved on campus, playing intramural football for the Golden Redeye’s and joining a fraternity. For the next twelve years, from 1960-1972 Hebert would attend USF, acquiring a bachelors degree in both physics and math and moving on to get a masters in chemistry.

Only 8 years later his hard work paid off when he created the product now called ZeroEnergy Water Heating System. This venture then grew into a company, Olive Tree Energy. “Understanding how heat moves and changes things it just popped into my head one night,” said Hebert.


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