ASHRAE Highlights Outstanding Building Projects

During the society's winter conference, ASHRAE presented technology awards to designers of systems for a community center, a school, an office building, and a governmental building, according to a Jan. 25 press release.

The recipients applied ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and indoor air quality.

"ASHRAE Technology Awards are awarded for innovative HVAC&R designs that provide superior energy, economic, air quality, and environmental performance through application of new technologies, new design concepts, or by applying existing technologies in unusual ways," Bert Phillips, chair of the judging panel, said. "Innovation involves risk for owners and designers, requiring designers to work outside their comfort zone."

The winning projects include:

• Laurier Nichols, P.E., Dessau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, received first place in the new public assembly category for Centre Communautaire de Mistissini, Mistissini, Quebec, Canada. For the ice arena, Nichols selected an HVAC system comprised of heat pumps connected to a geothermal loop. Most arenas use chillers with standard condensers to produce and maintain the ice with extracted heat rejected through air condensers. In this project, rejected heat is reused as much as possible to meet the arena's heating load. The building reports an energy reduction of 62 percent using geothermal energy, heat recovery and other energy efficient equipment and strategies. The cost savings are some $154,000 a year. Through use of a life-cycle cost approach, greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 350 tons a year compared to an equivalent community center built to minimum requirements.

• Thomas H. Durkin, P.E., Durkin and Villalta Partners Engineering, Indianapolis, Ind., received first place in the existing institutional buildings category for HVAC renovations at George Washington Carver Elementary School, Indianapolis. An underground stream is used as a geothermal heating source and cooling sink. The groundwater serves as condenser cooling water for a central chiller. When heat is needed, water flow through the same central chiller is switched with the groundwater going to the evaporator and the building loop on the condenser side. The system is cooling for less than half the cost of conventional equipment, with heating about one quarter of the cost of the cold system. Utility bills for 2007-08 with air conditioning were 16 percent less than utility bills for 2005-06 without air conditioning. When corrected for the cost of energy from 2005 to 2008, the savings are 33 percent.