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2023 LowDown Showdown

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2022 ASHRAE LowDown Showdown Winner: Zero Heroes

Design Requirements | Analysis | Design Narrative | Contextual Information

The 2023 ASHRAE LowDown Showdown is here!

Sign up now and unleash your design and modeling skills, collaborate with project team members and showcase your innovative building design to conference attendees!

This year’s selection for the model building is an existing building – the one and only Houston Astrodome! The Astrodome, built in 1965 served as a sports arena for over three decades until 2000. It now sits in disrepair, despite multiple attempts to repurpose the building over the years.   

That is the challenge! Teams will be asked to envision a new creative reuse of the Houston Astrodome to provide needed urban amenities and to do so within the constraints of reduced fossil fuel use and reduced carbon emissions. Teams will be given the freedom to think out of the box to determine how this voluminous, enclosed structure can bring meaningful activities and/or services to the Houston area. 

Here’s your chance to join an integrated team that will compete for fun and prizes. Sign up today and create your own team or sign up as an individual participant and we will put you on a team! Bring your imagination and analytical skills to the party and design a facility that is durable, provides exceptional indoor air quality and minimizes energy use and carbon emissions from operations and materials.   

The goal of the LowDown Showdown modeling competition is to engage participants in a collaborative and fun learning experience that explores new advances in building science, modeling, and technology. Teams are comprised of building analysts, designers, architects, engineers, and other participants. Teams will be responsible for creating the architectural design and a performance analysis model based on model building data. The teams may use any software or a combination of software to complete their projects.

Each team will create and submit a poster of their building design, complete the performance analysis model and results spreadsheet, and write a one-page narrative on project workflow. Teams will present their projects at the BPAC conference and be judged by a panel of industry experts who will select the winners.

The deadline to sign up is March 27th.

Sign Up Now    |    View Previous LDSd Winners

>> Please send all questions to Christopher Preyor @ Cpreyor@ashrae.org.

Design Requirements

✔️Program:  Re-envisioning the functional use of the Astrodome is left to the imagination and initiative of the competition teams. The full interior and selected exterior (parking lot footprint) of the building is expected to be engaged. The development of concepts to be presented is expected to be at a level commensurate with the conceptual design phase of a project.

✔️Systems: Major building systems, including HVAC, lighting, site energy, enclosure revisions (as necessary) appropriate to the program proposal will be evaluated, described, and modeled.

✔️Carbon: The project will be designed to reduce carbon emissions both from building operations and from construction materials used for the rehabilitation.  Operational carbon should be commensurate with that of a net-zero energy building. Emitted/embodied carbon will be representative of current best practices and include consideration of building mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems.

✔️Comfort: Intended comfort outcomes and design approaches will be documented to demonstrate that the project will provide thermal, visual, and acoustical comfort appropriate to the proposed space typologies informed by the current versions of the LEED and Green Globes certification standards, while demonstrating awareness of enhanced IEQ strategies in the WELL Standard.

✔️Indoor Air Quality: Intended IAQ design approaches and outcomes will be documented to demonstrate that the project incorporates innovative solutions to deliver exceptional indoor air quality, displaying an understanding of design strategies intended to improve occupant health and wellness.

✔️Durability: Design decisions will reflect a concern for a durable project that meets criteria established and presented by the design team.  A hygrothermal analysis will be considered a plus; as will a plan for project deconstruction.

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Design targets for the following elements will be clearly listed and compared with predicted project performance:

  • Site EUI (kBtu/ft2 yr) [kWh/m2 yr]
  • Source EUI (kBtu/ft2 yr) [kWh/m2 yr]
  • Annual operational CO2e emissions (lb CO2e/ft2 yr) [kg CO2e/m2 yr]
  • Total net embodied carbon (lb CO2e/ft2) [kg CO2e/m2]
  • Water usage (gal/ft2 yr) [l/m2 yr]
  • Thermal comfort: targets and design approach
  • Daylighting: targets and design approach
  • IAQ: targets and design approach
  • Estimated construction cost($/ft2, exclusive of site acquisition and design costs) [$/m2]
  • Other performance metrics considered pertinent by the design team

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Design Narrative

Teams will be expected to provide a design narrative that provides insights into the integrated design process and decisions leading to the final design proposal. In particular, the competition jurors will be interested in the progression of energy, carbon, and water performance as the proposal evolved, how best practices for indoor air quality (including consideration of health and wellness) were incorporated, and how thermal, visual, and acoustical comfort were addressed.  

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Contextual Information

Background information on the Astrodome, including original drawings, can be found here.

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