Atlanta — A net zero facility, a historic building, a cheese factory, a residence, a college building and an agriscience farm are being recognized by ASHRAE as innovative buildings.
The ASHRAE Technology Awards recognize outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design. Their designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and indoor air quality. The awards communicate innovative systems design to other ASHRAE members and highlight technological achievements of ASHRAE to others around the world. Winning projects are selected from entries earning regional awards.
First place awards will be presented at the ASHRAE 2014 Winter Conference in New York, N.Y., Jan. 18-22, New York Hilton.
Following are summaries of the winning projects.
Packard Foundation Net Zero Energy Headquarters
Peter Rumsey, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, chief technology officer, Integral Group, Oakland, Calif., receives first place in the new commercial buildings category for the Packard Foundation Net Zero Energy Headquarters, Los Altos, Calif.
Rumsey also receives the Award of Engineering Excellence, which is given to the most outstanding project receiving a first-place Technology Award. It has only been awarded three other times, in 2000, 2005 and 2012.
The 49,000-square-foot Packard Foundation Headquarters is described as an exemplary ultra-high performance building that is both leading by example and transforming the marketplace. Staying true to the Foundation’s prominence in funding conservation, science and environmental causes, the Foundation used its headquarters to demonstrate the full potential of the capabilities of integrated design, innovation in technology and replicable design. In its first year of occupancy it has already served over a thousand visitors in sustainable building education.
Highly efficient systems and an outstanding building envelope provides a reduction in energy demand by 46 percent compared with California Title 24 standards, while the remaining required power is offset with onsite power generation. The project water use goals are to achieve 40 percent water use reduction and implement the capture or infiltration of all rainwater.
The project has raised the bar, becoming the largest certified net zero energy building in the world to date. Success was found through a combination of innovative energy saving strategies, including a nighttime cooling tower with storage tank; a high efficiency air source heat pump boiler with storage; induction diffusers with chilled beams; and a low pressure drop design.
SIERR Building at McKinstry Station
David Budd, P.E., McKinstry, Seattle, Wash., receives first place in the existing commercial building category for the SIERR Building at McKinstry Station, Spokane, Wash. The owner is McKinstry.
Spokane’s Inland Empire Railroad (SIERR) Building was built in 1907 as an electric railroad car facility. In the 1950s, the usage shifted to trucking. In October 2010, the facility, which consists of a series of long train car barns with high sloped roofs, was designated a national historical landmark. Today, the 68,000 square foot building serves as a commercial office building. The newly refurbished facility is one of a handful of high-performing historical buildings in the United States.
Dean Allen, the current owner, discovered the building while searching for a new office location. He fell in love with the building and was determined to restore it to its former grandeur. He also recognized the opportunity to demonstrate how to effectively preserve the nation’s building stock by combining innovation in energy efficiency with historic preservation with the belief that the most sustainable building is the one that you preserve.
Through collaboration with the National Park Service, the building is now a model project for many of the new recommended practices described in the recently released Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.”
Traditional systems design approaches were unable to meet historical preservation requirements and still achieve significant energy savings while creating an office space that was comfortable and unique. To meet these needs, the design team used the following innovative building systems: Hydronic ground source loop; office space/radiant floor system; server room heat recovery; dedicated outside air system; and common areas/constant volume heat pump systems.
Fromagerie des Basques
Gheorghe Mihalache, Ph.D., P.Eng., engineering director, Atis Technologies, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, receives first place in the existing industrial facilities or processes category for Fromagerie des Basques, Trois-Pistoles, Quebec. The owner is Yves Pettigrew, general director, Fromagerie des Basques, Trois-Pistoles, Quebec.
The site Fromagerie des Basques is a family cheese factory founded in 1994. The annual milk transformation is around 3 million liters and the energy sources are oil #2 and electricity. In 2010, a mechanical project was developed to:
Change the heating and refrigeration of the site.
Construct a digester to produce biogas from the plant rejections (whey and white waters) and use the biogas in the production and buildings heating.
Treat the digester effluent to be able to correspond to the environmental standards permitting use of an absorption field.
Add ventilation (100 percent fresh air) in the cheese production area to ensure a positive pressure and correspond to Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations.
Change the High Temperature Short Time to be able to preheat the milk in the pasteurization using the refrigeration heat reject.
Implement a control system performing survey of the mechanical system, automated control of main production processes, alarms handling and optimization of energy consumption.
One of the biggest concerns was the whey and white water treatment. The factory used to send the whey to a local pork farm but that facility closed and the municipality was unable to treat the entire organic reject. To continue the production, the owner had to invest in a treatment plant. Atis Technologies proposed construction of an anaerobic treatment plant to transform the organic charges of the effluent in biogas (a combination of methane and carbon dioxide) while also using the biogas to produce heat needed in the production.
An existing warehouse was transformed in a mechanical room for the heating, refrigeration and digester infrastructure, and a new building was constructed for the effluent post treatment. The digester conception was the first in the world using a simple head three phase separator, ensuring a uniform velocity which is an essential condition for digester efficiency and non contamination with annoying bacteria.
The vision of the project was to create proper conditions for the production respecting all sanitary regulations for ventilation, minimize all necessary energy for the production, use of proper temperature level for heating and cooling, separate the mechanical infrastructure from the production, make the site able to handle the effluent treatment by transforming it into a valuable combustible for the production. After functioning more than one year, the project attends its objectives.
Darren Dageforde, P.E., director of utilities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb., receives first place in the new residential category for the home he and his wife Karen designed and built in Blair, Neb.
The Dagefordes sought to create an extremely energy efficient home with minimal maintenance, low utility costs and at a reasonable budget. The resulting design was an air conditioner-less (no traditional air conditioner/furnace), walkout raised ranch home operating at an energy use density of a remarkable 5.24 kBTU/ft2-yr.
The house design is an adaptation of traditional high performance commercial and residential systems incorporating some state of the art technologies and original design concepts. The skeleton of the structure consists of insulated concrete form walls and concrete floors with a standard truss rafter system. A small solar array of 4.1KW of photovoltaic panels is installed on the roof. Environmental conditioning is provided by hydronic radiant heated and cooled floor slabs. The radiant system utilizes a large mass of the insulated concrete flooring deck system as a thermal storage mass to evenly and continuously distribute thermal energy to the occupied environment. The radiant heating system is driven from water-to-water heat pump connected to five closed loop geothermal wells as the heat source.
An original application geothermal tempered fresh air supply system provides humidity and carbon dioxide control for the home. Domestic hot water is generated by a water-to-water heat pump also served from the geothermal well system. Through system integration “reject cooling” is recaptured from the domestic hot water heat pump for partially cooling the home in the summer time. Any required additional cooling is derived directly from the geothermal well system.
During the summer of 2012, the hottest summer on record in Nebraska, a total of 93 kWhrs was measured at an actual direct energy cost of $3.70 to cool and air condition the house for the entire summer, a reduction of over 95 percent from an average regional house, not including the energy benefit of site generated energy. The slightly milder summer of 2013 required a mere 90 kWhrs for home cooling.
Though greatly more efficient than a typical house, this home was constructed at a cost significantly less than market price for a comparable custom home thus demonstrating the Dagefordes’ goal that incredible energy efficiency does not have to be expensive!
300 Davis Street Building
Stephen Hamstra, P.E., ASHRAE-Certified High-Performance Building Design Professional, chief technology officer, Greensleeves, Findlay, Ohio, receives first place in the new educational facilities category for the 300 Davis Street Building. The owner is The University of Findlay, Ohio.
The University of Findlay is the largest private college in Northwest Ohio and has a student population of approximately 3,600. The Davis Building was completed in 2012 and provides an approximately 42,000 square feet addition of science classrooms and related spaces. The overall building includes 26 lab/classroom spaces plus additional offices, conference rooms and support spaces.
Among the innovations incorporated in the building:
A geothermal heat pump energy plant consisting of the magnetic-bearing chiller, pumps, variable speed drives and controls was factory-assembled at an ISO-9001 facility and shipped to the site in portions for site assembly. This significantly reduced construction and commissioning time as well as risk related to varying on-site conditions and quality control.
A control system using anticipatory predictive algorithms for the geothermal heat exchanger (GHX) seasonal and daily pre-conditioning to minimize energy use in lieu traditional “real-time” control that triggers closed-circuit cooling tower (CCCT) operation when the GHX temperature simply exceeds a setpoint. This means that the CCCT may operate during the night or during winter months to pre-condition the GHX for summer cooling and minimize summer daytime CCCT operation. Significant reductions in CCCT energy use and water use can be achieved by winter in lieu of summer operation due to lower ambient temperatures. The innovation is a control system that prevents excessive heat dumping in the winter.
The control system measures and “learns” the actual building load imposed on the GHX and adjusts the preconditioning algorithms in relation to this intelligent model.
Use of radiant cooling and active chilled beam sensible cooling via ground temperature water in lieu of chiller operation for much of the year.
If the cost premium for the installed system was assumed to be $2.50 per square foot vs. a conventional HVAC system, the simple payback based on the above analysis is less than 1.5 years. ($105,000 / $82,925 estimated annual savings = 1.27 years). The reduced energy use as noted above provides estimated emission reductions as follows: carbon dioxide reduction of 800+ tons per year; sulfur dioxide reduction of 12,000+ grams per year; and mono-nitrogen oxide reduction of 3,000+ grams per year. In addition, the project saw a reduction in water use for heat rejection and reduced cooling tower water chemical treatment by automatic wet or dry operation of the closed circuit cooling tower.
Locust Trace AgriScience Farm
Stephanie Febles, mechanical engineer, CMTA Consulting Engineers, Lexington, Ky., receives first place in the new educational facilities category for Locust Trace AgriScience Farm. The owner is Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, Ky.
Locust Trace AgriScience Farm in Lexington, Kentucky is an 82 acre, new vocational high school campus, consisting of a 43,000 square foot academic building, a 3,500 square foot greenhouse and a 21,500 square foot arena building. The school system decided to approach “net zero site consumed vs. site produced,” which means that the building will produce as much energy as it consumes at the building site.
The building also boasts a 168 panel evacuated tube solar thermal array that is utilized to offset the entire building heating load, that when designed, was the third largest system in North America. The solar thermal array is capable of one million BTUs of peak generation and generates hot water for duct-mounted hot water coils, fin tube radiant heaters, and the energy recovery wheel hot water coil. On a cool cloudy day, geothermal water to water heat pumps back up the solar thermal system.
There is a plug load controls system installed throughout the building. Almost every receptacle in the building is swept off at night. Specific receptacles remain on due to the fact that they are lighting for incubators or filters for aquariums. The teachers can override both the lighting and the receptacles in the spaces for two hour intervals.
Another interesting innovation was inclusion of a web-based system with a touch screen system located in the front lobby. The occupants of Locust Trace believe that the best way to change the behavior of building occupants is to let them take ownership of how the building is being utilized. The energy usage and several other building vitals are displayed for the students, faculty and the district. Part of every elementary, middle and high school curriculum is an energy module. This information, being web based, allows teachers district wide to incorporate this information into their teaching lessons.
The energy saved comparing the ASHRAE/IES energy standard 90.1 model to the actual energy usage saved 163 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent energy required to power 24.4 homes for one year, carbon sequestered by 134 acres of U.S. forests and greenhouse gas emissions from 34 passenger vehicles for one full year.
ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.