Canadian Consulting Engineer

University of B.C. and University of Regina teams are top winners in ASHRAE competition

September 2, 2016

The ASHRAE 2016 Student Design Competition saw teams from eight countries take part.

First place in the HVAC Design Calculations category went to the University of British Columbia. Their challenge was to design and select systems for a new 2-storey government building in Beijing, China. They were also challenged to “think globally, act locally.”  Team members are Alexander Brosky, Samarth Joshi, Aubrey McNeill, Silvia Odaya, Cheng Yang and Ziran Yu, all from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.. Faculty advisors are Nima Atabaki, Ph.D., P.Eng., and Steven Rogak, Ph.D., P.Eng., while the industry advisor is Ali Nazari, P.Eng., BEMP, principal, Integral Group.

In their scheme the total system peak loads are 1,095 MBh for cooling and 398.9 MBh for heating. The team designed air cooled chillers with ice storage and natural gas boilers to serve three air handling units that feed variable air volume terminal boxes. They selected the design based on life cycle cost analysis. The system allows a cooling plant to be downsized while taking advantage of cheaper off-peak energy costs

An independent computer room air conditioner maintains server room environmental requirements.  Photovoltaic and solar thermal panels have been sized and selected as energy conservation measures.


In the Applied Engineering Challenge, winners were a team from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan – Bradley E.R. Lulik, mechanical engineering-in-training, MacPherson Engineering, Regina, Saskatchewan; Eva Rennie, pursuing a diploma in business administration, University of Regina; and Brent Yeske, gradworks contactor, system integrity and standards, TransGas, Regina, Saskatchewan. Their faculty advisor is Adisorn Aroonwilas, Ph.D.

The students conducted an energy audit and mechanical system redesign for Little Souls Daycare at Souls Harbour Rescue Mission. The facility had concerns about building ventilation and safety of occupants (ages 10 and under), specifically that there currently is no ventilation in the summer months, which results in a stale and humid environment. Souls Harbour wanted to improve the inefficiencies at the lowest possible cost while improving the health and safety of the building, making it habitable for the occupants.

The students provided a list of recommendations to be implemented over 10 years, including high efficiency HVAC systems for the daycare, administrative officers and the gym area, skylights and insulation, and windows.

First place in the System Selection category went to California State Polytechnic University. After comparing several options, the team chose a hybrid variable refrigerant flow with outdoor heat recovery unit.

First place in the category of Integrated Sustainable Building Design went to a team from the University of Central Florida. The team chose a water source variable refrigerant flow system with an optimized geothermal water loop.

The projects will be shared at the ASHRAE 2017 Winter Conference / AHR Convention,  Jan. 28-Feb. 1 in Las Vegas.

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