ASHRAE student design competition

The 2007 ASHRAE student design competition featured architectural and HVAC systems. The student designers transformed the Hudson River, New York City, into an energy source for a biotech research laboratory. The goal of the competition was to turn an existing building into a biotech research facility with labs, office space, equipment, mechanical penthouse space and a vivarium.


ASHRAE held its 2007 Student Design competition, which featured architectural design and selection and design of HVAC/R systems. The student designers transformed the Hudson River in New York City into an energy source for a biotech research laboratory. The goal of the competition was to turn an existing building into a biotech research facility with labs, office space, equipment, mechanical penthouse space and a vivarium.

In the HVAC system selection category, first place was awarded to Kevin Chow, Brandon Damas, Jeremy Fowler, Brandon Frey, Brendan Gleason and Ben Willey from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. Julia Keen, P.E., and Fred Hasler, P.E., acted as their advisors. The students selected open-loop geothermal heat pumps that extracted water from the Hudson River as a heat source, with heat pipe/heat exchange units recovering sensible heat only to avoid cross contamination between the outside air and lab exhaust airstreams. The system’s proposal was to eliminate the need for boilers, cooling towers and chillers.

First place in the HVAC system design category was awarded to Gary Schrader, Jeremy Saddison, Ryan Larson and Chad Gydesen from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich. Their advisor was Douglas Zentz. The students’ design featured a geothermal heat pump plant that uses the Hudson River as the heat sink, considered a water-to-water heat pump system. The lab and office systems were designed to use totally enthalpy wheels to recover sensible and latent heat from the exhaust air streams to pre-condition the outside air needed for ventilation.

First place in the architectural design category was awarded to Stuart Johnson and Grant Helmkamp of Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Mich. Their advisor was Daniel Faoro. The students selected a cellular approach to their design, due to the nano-technology and biology research uses. The students’ design allows mechanical systems to be grouped together to minimize unused space between walls and provide efficient systems. The awards will be presented at ASHRAE’s 2008 Winter Meeting, Jan. 19 to Jan. 23 in New York City.

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