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ASHRAE Student Design Competition: Winning Projects Focus On Environmental Impact, Comfort, Health

[From ASHRAE press release]

Atlanta, GA, Aug 23, 2004

A system with the potential to set a new standard in the mechanical design industry has earned first place in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) 2004 Student Design Competition.

Undergraduate students were challenged to design an educational dramatic arts studio in Denver, Colo. Winners were announced in three categories – HVAC system design, HVAC system selection and architectural design. Projects are evaluated on anticipated operating costs, environmental impact, comfort, health, creativity and communication of results.

First place in the HVAC system selection category was awarded to Nick Maffeo III, Jason Kramer and Dave Peterson of The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. Their advisor is William Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E.

The students chose a regenerative variable-volume dual duct system, using an indirect evaporative cooler in conjunction with a direct evaporative cooler with a dual duct system to supply the air. A “regenerative” process using air-to-air heat exchangers to exchange the heat from the return air to the supply air without cross-contamination also was used.

The team feels the regenerative variable dual duct system offers superior indoor air quality by decoupling space sensible and latent loads, avoiding re-circulation of air as well as cross-contamination and also by guaranteeing compliance with ventilation requirements. The system reduces energy consumption as well as the cooling plant size. It does all of this at not only a competitive cost but at a lower first and annual energy costs, according to the students.

“The system is able to meet all of the requirements of ASHRAE standards 15, 55, 62 and 90,” they said. “It reduces the use of refrigerants compared to other systems. The reduced mechanical cooling allows for less reliance upon large energy inefficient equipment, which means less non-renewable fuel consumption. The regenerative cycle allows for large reductions in energy costs. The system as a whole is cleaner and psychrometrically, more efficient. This system has the potential to set a new standard in the mechanical design industry once it is able to overcome the typical paradigms encountered with such new and different way of thinking.”

First place in the architectural design category was awarded to Michael Oranchak and Keith Bryan of Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich. Their advisor is Janice Means, P.E.

The main floor of their design is a two-story structure of massive angled ribs and frameless glazing supported with Pilkington spider clips attached to a taunt vertical cable on the curving west wall and ceiling. The system uses double pane insulated glazing and will use argon gas to enhance the insulative quality and help filter UV rays from the sun. As the audience walks along the two-story pathway, they can look into the various studios, “thus becoming part of the show.”

“We created an inspiring design that we feel will enhance the creativity of the performers and provide the school with a model program that will help attract some of the brightest and most talented students from across the country and abroad,” the team said. “Our design is environmentally responsible in both its approach and implementation and will have a lower operating budget than expected.”

First place in the HVAC system design category was awarded to Brad Green, Bhushan Joshi, John Lindman, Trevor Fink, Ray Wrobel and Joseph Borders of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. Their advisor is Doug Zentz.

The team chose a geothermal water source heat pump (WSHP) system with a dedicated outdoor air system. The geothermal WSHP system typically lasts longer than conventional systems because they are protected from the harsh outdoor environment, according to the team. Ground loop manufacturers guarantee their loop materials for up to 25 years with no maintenance involved.

“Our geothermal system has better temperature control, causes less of an environmental impact, and is more efficient than conventional systems,” the team noted. “Many electrical and rural electric cooperatives are offering monetary incentives for installing geothermal systems because the geothermal system’s peak demand curve flattens out over time.”

First-place teams in each category will receive $1,500 and transportation and lodging costs for a representative to attend ASHRAE’s 2005 Winter Meeting Feb. 5-9, Orlando, Fla., to receive their awards. Each of the projects will be represented in a poster session during the meeting.

The 2005 ASHRAE Student Design Project Competition will focus on The Brewery Blocks, a mixed use retail, residential and office grouping of five buildings in Portland’s Pearl District. The design and drawings are available to students and faculty advisors on in the Student Zone.

The purpose of the competition is to recognize outstanding student design projects, to encourage undergraduate students to become involved in the profession, to apply their knowledge of practical design and to promote teamwork.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is an international organization of 55,000 persons. Its sole objective is to advance through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve the evolving needs of the public.

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