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ASHRAE Recognizes 2020 LowDown Showdown Modeling Challenge Teams

First virtual competition

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  • 19 Oct 2020
  • Awards
  • Atlanta, GA

ASHRAE Recognizes 2020 LowDown Showdown Modeling Challenge Teams

Karen Buckley Washington
Public Relations Specialist

ASHRAE Recognizes 2020 LowDown Showdown Modeling Challenge Teams
First virtual competition

ATLANTA (October 19, 2020) – ASHRAE recognized the 2020 LowDown Showdown modeling competition teams. The competition was held virtually for the first time in conjunction with the virtual 2020 Building Performance Analysis Conference and Simbuild co-organized by ASHRAE and IBPSA-USA.

The LowDown Showdown engages architects, engineers, designers and energy modelers by working on integrated teams in the creation of outstanding designs that solve in real-world building efficiency challenges. 

“Each year of the LDSd competition, we ask participating teams to take on a new challenge in building performance analysis, said John Bynum, competition chair. “The teams presented outstanding ideas for designing a new building that has a low carbon or carbon neutral footprint, this year’s challenge.”

This year’s competition took a page from New York City’s groundbreaking new Climate Mobilization Act that requires building owners to reduce their carbon footprint. Participating teams designed a 300,000 sf, 15 story mixed-use building located anywhere in the five boroughs of New York City.  The building contained retail space, residential space and a full-service restaurant.

Teams were evaluated in six categories:

  • Carbon Neutral Approach/Energy Use
  • Creativity
  • Innovative Approaches
  • Sustainability/Durability
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Workflow and Teamwork

First place was awarded to team “Aequitas” for designing a net-zero-energy building that balanced contextual neighborhood cues and functional performance. The building’s primary façade captured the design of nearby warehouses. Functional elements that augment the building’s performance and comfort included narrow floorplates for ample daylight and ventilation, a dichotomous façade on the northwest that acts as a sound barrier to adjacent vehicle and train noise, and a diaphanous open façade on the southeast, aimed at maximizing daylight and solar energy captured through a PV integrated window system. Resiliency measures were incorporated, HVAC systems minimized use of fossil fuels and mass timber was utilized as  the primary structural system, which at 15 stories made this building one of the tallest mass timber structures in North America.

“Our building integrates occupant comfort, beautiful and functional design, and healthy materials, said Elizabeth LeRiche, team captain. “Residents and neighbors can gather in outdoor green spaces and community gardens, fostering bonds through a shared appreciation of food production and our connection to our collective impact on the environment.”

A second-place team, “Carbonbusters,” chose an adaptive reuse design strategy restoring a brick power plant that had been abandoned, with a focus on energy efficient construction and locally sourced materials. The project included 1,500 feet deep geothermal wells acting as a reliable source of energy for heating and cooling, high-performance glazing to minimizes heat transfer and energy loss, a green roof and public garden and supplemental power production using hydrogen.

Also receiving second place, the “Parametric Posse Recharged” team focused on using parametric design tools to strategically enhance the performance of the building type with respect to climate response, energy efficiency, carbon mitigation and occupant well-being. The project included 3D façade providing external shading and aesthetic interest, a high-COP centralized GSHP system to provide hot/chilled water to individual air-handling units in the apartments and restaurant spaces and sky gardens configured to reduce horizontal circulation.

The fan favorite team, the “Carbon Lighters”, followed a tiered design process on a 41,860 square feet fast food chain drive thru building. The project included a generous central courtyard configured to open to the East to catch the predominant southeastern summer wind based on Brooklyn climate data, residential units with access on one side and photovoltaics atop a continuous roof canopy.

The competition results were announced during the virtual conference. See complete project overviews, including team posters on the 2020 ASHRAE LowDown Showdown Modeling Challenge results webpage.

Founded in 1894, ASHRAE is a global professional society committed to serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and their allied fields.

As an industry leader in research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE and its members are dedicated to promoting a healthy and sustainable built environment for all, through strategic partnerships with organizations in the HVAC&R community and across related industries.

ASHRAE is celebrating 125 years of shaping the built environment. Become a member of ASHRAE by visiting  

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