ATLANTA - Hoping to provide students a place where they can gain hands-on experience, an HVACR playground is being constructed at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) through a grant from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Twenty-six grants, totaling approximately $110,000, have been awarded by ASHRAE to colleges and universities worldwide to promote the study and teaching of HVACR, encouraging undergraduate students to pursue related careers. The grants are used to design and construct projects.

ASHRAE's student activities committee received 41 applications for the 2005 Senior Undergraduate Grant program, a 20-percent in-crease over last year. Grants are awarded ranging in amounts from $5,000 (the maximum amount available per project) to $1,725.

Currently, Penn State juniors majoring in architectural engineering are exposed to HVACR equipment primarily through course lectures, a few site visits, and a weekly practicum where problems are solved on paper.

"The lab will give students a place to interact and play with HVACR equipment and principles they learn about in their class," Jelena Srebric, Ph.D., from Penn State said.

"It will promote HVACR while directly impacting students' career decisions."

The lab will include an air handling unit, two air-conditioning window units, a small heat pump, low differential pressure instruments and manometers, carbon dioxide meters, VOC meters, and a human simulation device.

Publication date: 03/28/2005