Students Read Up on Practical Design Knowledge to Win ASHRAE Competition

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Atlanta — ASHRAE’s 2012 Student Design Competition had participants staying up late and doing their research of HVAC&R system selection and design calculations as well as integrated building design to encourage practical design.

This year’s competition featured a mock design of the newly constructed Joe and Rika Mansueto Library located in Chicago, Ill. The library consists of a glass dome covering 15,000 square feet of usable area on the ground floor, half of which is dedicated to a reading area and half to a preservation laboratory. The lower level of the building consists of a large warehouse for archived publications and materials.

Among the entries from around the world, three were awarded first place in the three categories that the competition offers.

First place in HVAC System Design Calculations is awarded to John Bisacquino, Josh Dennis and Travis Westover of Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa. Their faculty advisor is Steven Ridenour, Ph.D., P.E.

The team chose a ground source heat pump system to generate hot and chilled water for the entire building. In order to eliminate the necessity of a cooling tower, a ground source water loop rejects heat to the earth in the cooling mode and absorbs heat in the heating mode. Ground source heat pumps have a lower operating and maintenance coast and analysis showed any additional cost of installation would be covered in as little as 10 years.

For the interior rooms on the ground floor, packaged water to air heat pumps were specified, which can be incorporated in spaces with smaller heating and cooling load requirements. For the larger areas of the ground floor (grand reading room, etc.), air handling units with water to water heat pumps will be installed to meet the larger capacities required for heating and cooling. Water to water heat pumps generate hot and chilled water, while the air handling unit filters and supplies the conditioned air to the space.

In order to maintain strict temperature and humidity levels in the basement storage area, a constant air volume with system will be installed. Due to the high volume of books being stored in the basement, the air must circulate continuously to maintain the target temperature and humidity
levels specified by the owner. Since strict humidity levels are desired, a desiccant dehumidifying system was designed.

First place in HVAC System Selection is awarded to Alaina Booth, Adam Buck, Jami Harper, John May and Patrick MacBride of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska. Their faculty advisor is Joe Hazel, P.E., ASHRAE-Certified Healthcare Facility Design Professional.

After analyzing three system designs for the library, the team selected a ground coupled heat exchanger (GCHE) to serve a modular packaged heat recovery chiller system with variable air volume air handling units for the upper level of the library, and constant air volume air handling units for the periphery of the upper level and the lower level archive area.

The GCHE consists of a geothermal loopfield that transfers heat as needed for the primary system; the loops converge at the packaged heat recovery chiller to transfer energy to and from the field to the building systems. The air handling units for the upper level serve both terminal boxes in office areas, and a displacement ventilation system in the open areas of the library.  The constant volume air handling unit serving the archive area includes a dual energy recovery unit to tightly control humidity.  In order to better serve the high ceiling space, two air circulation units are placed at either end of the archive area so that stratification cannot occur.

The selected system shows a 73 percent improvement in energy efficiency compared to the ASHRAE Standard 90.1 baseline building model and is projected to reduce operating costs approximately $1.35 million over 20 years.

First place in Integrated Sustainable Building Design is awarded to Dustin Altschul, Prathamesh Chakradeo, Ravik Chandra, Saikrishna Ganesan, Timothy Hertel, Varun Krishnan and Charles Stratton of the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.  Their advisor is Raj M. Manglik, Ph.D.

To meet the electrical demand of the building, the students decided that photovoltaic glass would be used on the dome of the library. Daylighting also played a large role in the students’ design, and window glazing was selected to offer a balance between solar heat gain and visible transmittance. 

Due to the specific humidity requirements of the archives of the library, the team determined that two individual air distribution systems were necessary, which ultimately allowed for more control and energy operating costs savings. Geothermal heating was selected as the central heating system, which requires little maintenance and has a low operating cost.

Additionally, exterior insulated concrete walls, which allow for no air infiltration, minimize noise and the transference of heat and cold and a switch to dual flush toilets, along with rainwater harvesting, will reduce water consumption by 22 percent.

The competition recognizes outstanding student design projects, encourages undergraduate students to become involved in the profession, promotes teamwork and allows students to apply their knowledge of practical design.

The projects are shared at the 2013 Winter Conference in Dallas, Texas Jan. 26-30.

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