Students Win Design Competition

ATLANTA - As part of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) 2007 Student Design Competition, student designers turned to the Hudson River as an energy source in transforming a New York City distribution center into a biotech research laboratory.

This year’s competition featured the design of HVACR systems as well as architectural design. The goal was to turn an existing building into a biotech research facility complete with labs, office space, equipment, mechanical penthouse space, and a vivarium (an enclosure for keeping plants and animals alive in their natural habitat for observation purposes).

First place in the HVAC system selection category was awarded to Kevin Chow, Brandon Damas, Jeremy Fowler, Brandon Frey, Brendan Gleason, and Ben Willey from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. Their advisors are Julia Keen, P.E., and Fred Hasler, P.E.

“Overall, the greatest benefit realized by the owner will be due to the efficient nature of the geothermal heat pumps and the heat pipe heat recovery unit,” said the team. “Geothermal heat pumps utilize natural heating and cooling energy from the river, reducing the amount of natural resources consumed for operation.”

First place in the HVAC system design category went to Gary Schrader, Jeremy Saddison, Ryan Larson and Chad Gydesen of Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich. Their faculty advisor is Douglas Zentz.

Their design features a geothermal heat pump plant, using the Hudson River as the heat sink, considered a water-to-water heat pump system. Both the lab and office systems use total enthalpy wheels to recover sensible and latent heat from the exhaust air streams to pre-condition the outside air needed for ventilation.

Awards will be presented at ASHRAE’s 2008 winter meeting, New York City, Jan. 19-23. Winning student groups will each have a poster presentation to display their projects at the meeting.

For more information, visit

Publication Date: 08/13/2007

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