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NREL, Portland State Engineers Take Home ASHRAE Technology Awards

The engineers who designed the net-zero energy NREL Research Support Facility in Golden, Colo. and a Washington fire station that uses 70 percent less energy compared to other area fire stations are among the winners of the 2013 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Technology Awards.

The six award winners’ designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management.

Stantec Consulting’s Joseph Tai won first place in the commercial buildings category for the NREL Research Support Facility (pictured). Tai and his team also receive the award of engineering excellence for the project. The new 219,105-square-foot office building on NREL’s campus in Golden achieves net-zero energy use through its integrated systems.

Lighting in the building is an integrated system of architectural and interior design details, daylight control systems, occupancy controls and high=efficiency lighting. Ninety-two percent of all typical work-spaces are designed to receive adequate daylight using a narrow floor plate and advanced light bouncing device.

The building also uses an integrated system of thermal mass, radiant slabs, night purging and natural ventilation. The total annual energy consumption of the building is 36 percent better than a baseline ASHRAE 90.1-2004 building; the measured EUI is 33kBtu/sf/year, while an on-site photovoltaic system is sized at 35kBtu/sf/year. The building offsets the vast majority of its energy footprint by using electrical energy produced by solar panels.

Additionally, the project’s new data center is one of the most efficient in the world because of free cooling and IT efficiency measurements. The carbon-neutral building consumes 81 percent less energy than its predecessor, reducing carbon emission by about 5 million pounds per year.

Ecotope’s Shawn Oram won first place in the existing commercial buildings category for Rice Fergus Miller Office and Studio in Bremerton, Wash. The building is owned by Fifth Street Hilltop Partners. After one year, the project has an EUI of 21.8 kBtu/sf/year, 76 percent better than the national average for office buildings, which is 93 kBtu/sf/yr. The HVAC systems are designed to turn off when the outdoor temperatures are within the “passive mode” range, and the super-insulated naturally ventilated building allows the heat pumps to be off for 70 percent of the year.

Mark Koller, of Interface Engineering in Portland, Ore., received first place in the new educational facilities category for the design of the Portland State University Academic and Student Recreation Center in Oregon. This new building includes a gymnasium, natatorium, bike hub and the City of Portland Archives.

The natatorium is served by a dedicated indoor dehumidification unit, which has air-to-air plate heat recovery, variable speed fans with dew-point control and heat recovery. The building’s gym is served by a dedicated air handler with a well water cooling coil, heating coil, variable speed fan and economizer with stack relief. The exercise equipment contains small generators that feed electricity to the building.

Ecotope’s Jonathan Heller received first place in the new other institutional facilities category for the design of the Eastside Fire and Rescue Station 72 in Issaquah, Wash., that uses super-insulation, heat recovery ventilation, radiant heat distribution, ground source heat pumps, solar water preheat, high efficiency appliances, advanced lighting designs and controls and real-time energy use feedback to the occupants.

First place in the new health care facilities category went to CDi Engineers’ Jeremy McClanathan for the Swedish Issaquah Hospital in Issaquah, Wash. The owner is Swedish Health System. The building has achieved a 54 percent energy savings compared to a baseline EUI 250 kBtu/sf/year for a typical hospital. Efficiency measures include a central plant heat recovery system, the use of variable air volume air systems, recirculating air handling units with select units 100 percent outside air capable for pandemic mode, low velocity ductwork, high efficiency AHUs and chillers and efficient envelope and lighting.

The Montreal Biodome engineer, Andre-Benoit Allard of Ecosystem, won first place in the existing public assembly category for the Quebec, Canada building, owned by Montreal Space for Life. Since its energy retrofit, performed between 2008 and 2010, the building has experienced 55 percent energy savings and an 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions.


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