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ASHRAE Celebrates 35 Years of Technology Awards

  • 19 Jan 2017
  • Atlanta

ASHRAE Celebrates 35 Years of Technology Awards

Media Contact:
Allen Haynes

ATLANTA (January 19, 2017) – For 35 years, the ASHRAE Technology Awards have recognized outstanding achievements in the innovative designs of buildings in the areas of occupant comfort, indoor air quality and energy conservation. This year, a vivarium, training laboratories, a transport center, a hospital, a police headquarters and two office buildings join the more than 300 projects that been recognized since 1981.

“Throughout the lifetime of the Technology Awards, ASHRAE has demonstrated how innovative design becomes the standard of care for the built environment,” Scott Wayland, who chaired the judging panel for the awards last year, said. “The showcased projects offer lessons learned from both the design and post-occupancy phases. These real world stories from Technology Award winning projects can help all of us learn how to deliver on ASHRAE’s core values.”

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the program, which was started in 1981 as the ASHRAE Energy Awards, later renamed Technology Awards. The program was started to recognize contributions by ASHRAE members in the area of energy conservation and to promote the dissemination of successful techniques.

Three first-place awards were presented during the first year of the program. ASHRAE Life Member James Lange received first place in the institutional/commercial for new construction category for his design of the Western Life Insurance Building in Woodbury, Minn.

“I felt that this building would demonstrate many energy conserving features that had not been used on other projects,” Lange said. He said it was a great honor to be among the first recipients, noting that he gave speeches at many events and had articles published in major HVAC&R magazines.

The building remains in use today but changed ownership to a different insurance company. Lange said many of the energy conservation techniques he used then are in use today, including variable air volume terminal boxes, heat recovery chillers that recovered heat from the computer center to heat the building, thermal storage tanks, DDC controls that included air flow measuring stations, and recovered heat from the kitchen hood exhaust system.

The awards recognize outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design. Their designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and indoor air quality. Winning projects are selected from entries earning regional awards.

First place awards will be presented at the ASHRAE 2017 Winter Conference, which takes place Jan. 28-Feb. 1 at Caesars Palace with the co-sponsored AHR Expo being held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The following designers and owners are recognized with first-place awards.

YKK80 Building
Kitaro Mizuide, Ph.D., P.Eng., general manager of mechanical and electrical engineering division, NIKKEN SEKKEI Ltd., Osaka, Japan, receives first place in the new commercial buildings category for the YKK80 Building, Tokyo. The building is owned by YKK Real Estate Co. Ltd.

The building received its name because the 80th anniversary of the company’s founding was marked in 2014 with the construction of the new building, which was completed in 2015. One month after the design began, the Great East Japan earthquake occurred, resulting in the country shutting down all of its nuclear power plants and reassessing its energy supply and demand as well as seismic vulnerability.

The delay allowed for reassessment of energy, comfort, sustainability and seismic design requirements, ultimately leading to a much more innovative, integrated, comfortable, and healthy and aseismic design solution.

The building features an exterior “sudare screen,” which is derived from a traditional Japanese blind, over the entire west facing façade to block and filter direct solar gain while maintaining daylight and views. The screen also helps filter outdoor noise, creates a safe service space for maintenance of exterior installed mechanical systems and provides lightning protection.

A custom, radiant ceiling panel cooling/heating system was designed to facilitate integration of hot/cold water piping with lighting and low velocity air flow. This slight air-flow concept is similar to experiencing a natural breeze under the shade of a tree. Small fans, functioning as diffusers, provide the slight air flow behind the inclined radiant panels and allow greater variation in temperature set points.

Another innovation is a state-of-the-art, real-time earthquake detection system designed to provide immediate response and safety information for occupants. The entire building rests on seismic isolation pads.

University of California, San Francisco Parnassus Services Seismic Replacement Building (PSSRB) MBCx
Adam C. S. Wheeler, P.E., principal, Sherrill Engineering Inc., San Francisco, Calif., receives first place in the other institutional buildings, existing building commissioning category for the University of California, San Francisco, Parnassus Services Seismic Replacement Building. The building is owned by the University of California, San Francisco.

A detailed retro-commissioning process was undertaken on the 12 year-old, 80,000 sq. ft. vivarium facility, evaluating each subsystem within the HVAC system from the central to the zone level, while at the same time quantifying the current and expected needs of each zone. Current operation was then compared to need, and conservation opportunities and areas of inadequate performance were identified. Only control sequence revisions and low-cost measures were implemented, including:

  • Ventilation set-back based on sensed and scheduled occupancy
  • Eliminating unnecessary flow restrictions and bypasses
  • Adding pressure and temperature set point reset logic
  • Adding set point dead bands
  • Control loop tuning
  • Updating ventilation to match current zone usage

Notable “innovative” measures include:

  • Hybrid zone control to address flow measurement minimum
  • Second-decile average control for set point targeting
  • Periodic reset to combat “creep” due to mechanical hysteresis

Energy use for 12 months following implementation of the measures indicates an EUI of 234 kBtu/ft2/yr (total) / 62 (electrical) use, down from 328/118 electrical. This cut the energy cost approximately 50% for a sub 1-year payback and avoids about 500 tons of CO2 emissions at local rates. A key element to the project was the team’s extensive familiarity with both the building type and the specific building, leveraging decade-old original commissioning data and relationships with management and staff.

Johns Hopkins University, Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories
Bradford Crowley, P.E., associate principal, Ballinger, Philadelphia, Pa., receives first place in the new educational facility category for the Johns Hopkins University, Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories, Baltimore, Md. The building is owned by Johns Hopkins University.

In March 2009, Johns Hopkins University released its President’s Task Force on Climate Change Final Report, calling for a reduction of university carbon emissions of 51 percent by 2025. As the first major construction to follow, the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories is a model for energy efficiency, sustainable site development and interior environmental quality. The building houses undergraduate laboratories and faculty research in the departments of biology, chemistry, neuroscience and biophysics.

Energy consumption in laboratories is driven by outside air requirements and the heating and cooling required to condition this air as well as high internal gains. The building uses a number of technologies, strategies and systems to mitigate the energy impacts.

These include:

  • Enthalpy and sensible recovery wheels to deliver neutral air
  • Chilled beams, radiant floor heating and perimeter radiators
  • Water side economizer using air handling unit cooling coils (free winter cooling)
  • District energy from campus tri-generation plants
  • High efficiency lighting and daylighting with occupancy sensor controls
  • High performance fume hoods
  • Occupancy sensor based airflow reset
  • Decommissioning switches to turn off airflow to vacant labs
  • High performing envelope and minimal east/west glazing

Designers note that the building’s real innovation was not the technologies and systems themselves but rather how these systems complement each other and integrate with the architecture to simplify design, maintain space quality and offset construction costs via standardization.

The building and systems demonstrate the University’s commitment to sustainability. With an energy savings of over 50 percent (both cost and Energy Use Intensity) and an annual avoidance of almost 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the building raises the bar on laboratory energy performance and challenges preconceptions of laboratory energy intensity.

STM – Construction du Centre de transport Stinson
Julien Allard, Eng., mechanical engineer and project manager, Bouthillette Parizeau, Montreal, Quebec, receives first place in the new industry facilities or processes category for the Construction du Centre de transport Stinson, Montreal. The building is owned by the Societe de transport de Montreal (STM).

In anticipation of an increase in services, the STM expanded its fleet of buses and developed a sustainability program for its Stinson Transportation Center, which accommodates 300 vehicles for 700 employees. By asking the public to use its services, the STM has made every effort to set an example in sustainability.

As part of its energy efficiency strategies, the building incorporates an expansive room (the size of almost seven football fields) featuring a green roof of 86,000 square feet.

Design solutions included high efficiency condensing boilers, energy recovery ventilation on the HVAC systems and destratification fans in high volume places. Annual energy consumption is reduced by almost 60 percent, resulting in a savings of $1.2 million annual and of 7,235 tons in greenhouse gas emissions. This is equal to a savings of 2,896 compact cars making a daily commute of 24 miles.

Another savings came in water consumption, which was a concern given the use of water for washing buses. Nearly 75 percent of the water was reused for the pre-rinsing in the wash-bay area. Rainwater harvesting from the roof compensates for the remaining 25 percent of make-up water, with water drained into a 6,000 gallon underground tank.

The building uses numerous measuring stations (natural gas, electricity, water, chilled water and water) in order to compare consumptions and to eventually reproduce the innovations for other facilities.

Humber River Hospital
Kurt Monteiro, P.Eng., HFDP, HBDP, Smith + Andersen, Toronto, Ontario, receives first place in the new health care facilities category for Humber River Hospital, Toronto.The building is owned by the hospital.

A 656 bed facility, the hospital is one of Canada’s largest acute care facilities. The hospital leadership had a vision of “lean, green and digital,” with a goal of reinventing patient care.

The facility achieved many milestones in meeting that vision, including:

  • Being the first fully digital hospital in North America
  • Largest modular green roof installation in Canada
  • Largest installation of electrochromic glass in North America
  • 100 percent outside air operation for improved indoor air quality and infection control

The building is designed to exceed ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2007, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, by 40 percent. Several approaches were used to achieve this goal, including an integrated heating and cooling plant with highly efficient ventilation equipment and distribution; air side enthalpy recovery; enhanced building envelope design that incorporates automatically adjusting electromechanical glass to reduce solar gain during peak cooling times; and a lighting design featuring controls accessed via patient bedside computer terminal, which achieves a lighting power density 46 percent lower Standard 90.1-2007.

To enhance infection control and indoor air quality, all air handling units supply 100 percent fresh air with no recirculation. Design of HVAC systems with energy efficiency and energy recovery features reduced the energy impact of these 100 percent fresh air systems.

The hospital automated 75 percent of deliveries, including laboratory specimen testing, linen and garbage transportation, guided vehicles to deliver supplies and food to patient rooms.

Cincinnati District 3 Police Headquarters – Net Zero Energy Building
Brian Rose, P.E., mechanical engineer, CMTA Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Tracy Steward, mechanical engineer, CMTA Inc., Louisville, Ky., receive first place in the new commercial buildings category for the Cincinnati District 3 Police Headquarters – Net Zero Energy Building, Ohio. The building is owned by the City of Cincinnati.

As a facility that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the station is designed to generate as much energy as it consumes. The building features many firsts for the Ohio region, including the first net zero police station, net zero storm water on site and drastic energy reduction.

The net zero energy design was achieved by an almost 50 percent energy reduction and production of on-site energy by a 329 kW solar photovoltaic system. Since March 2016, the system has produced 173,223 kWh, within 1 percent of the projected production. During this same period, the building consumed only 106,543 kW, generating 63 percent more energy than consumed and ahead of schedule for being net zero.

The building also features a geothermal HVAC system installed with 40 400-foot vertical pipe bores; a single dedicated outside air unit including a heat recovery wheel and two-pipe coil for final tempering of the air; and water-to-water heat pump units.

A tight building envelope is important for a net zero energy building. Finding bulletproof glass that met the requirements of Standard 90.1-2007 for maximum U value of 0.50 and shading coefficient of 0.40 was challenging. The designers were successful in finding such glass with a U value of .20 and shading coefficiency of 0.44.

To achieve net zero storm water, all storm water is contained on site. This is accomplished via bioswales and biofiltration/retention basins to mitigate combined water sewer overflow and cleanse storm water runoff.

The design/build project delivery method allowed a high performance, net zero energy building to be delivered within the owner’s construction budget. From the initial charrette meetings and throughout the schematic and design development phases, the focus was on designing the most energy efficient building in a cost competitive environment. This project prioritized energy efficiency strategies that have significant impact on both the annual and lifetime energy savings of a net zero energy project. The team quantified the annual cost savings for both the energy reduction and photovoltaic generation for equipment life of 20 years.

435 Indio Way
Shannon M. Allison, Integral Group, Oakland, Calif., receives first place in the existing commercial buildings category for 435 Indio Way, Sunnyvale, Calif. The building is owned by Huettig and Schromm Inc. Built in the 1970s, this office building was dark, derelict and impossible to rent. Designers retrofitted the existing uninsulated building to be a net zero energy building, which was changed from a Class C- building to a Class B+ building in real estate terms and leased in record time.

They focused on upgrading the envelope and reducing the mechanical loads. The building is 100 percent daylit and 100 percent naturally ventilated. Roof mounted photovoltaic and solar thermal systems were used to offset predicted energy use.

It features two rooftop packaged unit heat pumps to heat and cool as needed. The natural ventilation system is fully automated making it possible to turn off the rooftop units when the outside temperature is optimal. Automated operable windows and skylights allow for a night flush sequence, pre-charging the thermal mass of the building on cooling days.

A unique skylight design includes skylights facing south and tilted toward the sun with a pyramid shape to collect maximum quantity of daylight with the smallest aperture.

Emissions without photovoltaic systems are calculated to be 25 tons per year compared to 60 tons per year of a code minimum building. With the photovoltaic systems, it achieves a net positive rate of 8 tons per year.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its more than 56,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. More information can be found at