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2014 Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

General Information | Questions and Answers

  1. Design Teams should assume the following for the various siting issues which need to be discussed in their submissions:
    • The building is to be located in New York City. Design teams located outside of the United States have the option to locate the building in the city where their University is located, or the capital city of their country.
    • Assume the building can be oriented in any direction. Yes, we are using an existing building, but the intent if the competition is for design teams to examine siting issues and orient the building the most optimal orientation for a high performance building as described in the relevant ASHRAE Standards.
    • Utility costs are provided on the ASHRAE.org website. Design teams choosing to locate the building outside of New York City should document the local utility rates in their submission.
  2. Design teams should assume the building construction is compliant with the minimum standards described in the latest edition ASHRAE 90.1. Teams should discuss how they would modify these constructions to achieve the goals listed in the Owners Project Requirements.
  3. Design teams should examine the provided CAD drawings and make constructions assumptions base upon those drawings. For example, floor heights, roof heights, wall thicknesses, and fenestration locations can all be determined from the provided CAD drawings. Teams are encouraged to make assumptions and justify them in their reports.
  4. The competition committee realizes there are holes and discrepancies in the provided project materials. One of the jobs of an engineer is to make assumptions, justify them, and engineer results.
  5. Any ASHRAE student member is eligible to enter the competition. It is not necessary for the faculty advisor to participate, but it is heavily encouraged by the design competition committee.
  6. The design competition committee and judges would like all submissions to use the provided competition materials on the ASHRAE.org website. This allows the judging to equally examine responses for all competition entries.

General Information | Questions and Answers

  1. Q: The requirements for the type of fume hood specified by the Owners' Project Requirements (OPR) is not explicitly included in Chapter 16: Laboratories section, can we use multiple hoods to meet the requirements outlined in the OPR?
    • A: Design teams are encouraged to research, make assumptions and justify their assumptions in their response.
  2. Q: Is the assumption that the R&D labs will be handled as a "Physical R&D Lab" a correct assumption?
    • A: Yes.
  3. Q: What is being said when the "R&D labs are to be negative"? Is this implying that the room's environment is to be kept at a negative pressure? If so, wouldn't it make more sense that a room that should be requiring clean air would be kept at a positive pressure to reduce infiltration into the environment?
    • A: R&D labs are not particularly classified as clean rooms, but can be. Refer to the OPR and interpret your response.
  4. Q: Will ASHRAE be sending a drawing key to better understand the CAD drawings?
    • A: No. Ask specific questions through the ASHRAE website and the competition committee will provide answers as required.
  5. Q: Will ASHRAE be releasing sections views of the buildings?
    • A: No.
  6. Q: What is being implied by the symbol "S" in the windows of the elevation drawings?
    • A: The “S” symbol specifies spandrel glass sections.
  7. Q: Is there a correct procedure if the window to wall ratio exceeds 40%?
    • A: Follow guidance located in ASHRAE 90.1 for window to wall rations greater than 40%.
  8. Q: I had a question regarding the building location. My group is currently under the impression that this is an imagined building rather than actual like last years. I wanted to know if you had any suggestions for how to approach an observational survey, or if we needed anything along those lines at all. ASHRAE 62.1 says to conduct one, but since this building is in the "New York City area" do we need anything specific in terms of prevailing winds, vehicle exhaust, air contaminants, etc?
    • A: Often times during building design it is impractical for the design engineer to perform the observational visit required by ASHRAE 62.1. In those cases there are many online resources for determining the air quality in any specific area of the United States. The committee suggests design teams use the available resources on the internet such as http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/reports.html. This not the only source of air quality reports and design teams should research, document, and justify their findings in their response.
  9. Q: It specifically lists on page 4: "Exterior design conditions should be based on the ASHRAE 2% criteria for the climate of New York City." The issue we've encountered is that our advisor has told us this 2% criteria doesn't exist. We were wondering specifically where this ASHRAE criteria was listed (standards, fundamentals, state code, etc.) because we are unable to find anything to show our advisor.
    • A: The OPR is in error. It should read as follows:
      Exterior design conditions should be based on the ASHRAE 1% dry bulb and 1% wet bulb cooling design temperatures and 99.6% heating design temperature criteria for the climate of New York City. refer to ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Appendix G, G.
  10. Q: Just wanted to verify the elevations for each floor, plenum space, and R&D areas. I have attached a screenshot below with my measurements. We assumed the plenum space is that middle "S" area at a height of 3 feet. Each floor around 9 ft.
    • A: Design Teams should examine the give AutoCAD files and make all assumptions required and document those decisions in their reply.
  11. Q: Our first question has to do with region of operation. Can we choose anywhere in the world or does it need to be somewhere in a developing country? What does the project need to fulfill? The problem statement states that teams must design an A/C unit to improve IAQ. Later in the specifications they state that the A/C unit needs to be able to heat and cool the room. Do we need to design a unit that can heat and cool the room? Do we design the room ourselves or is there a model room we can design from? Also under the specifications it states that teams should use biomass for heating and cooking. Are we supposed to design an air conditioning unit that can cook, heat, and cool the room? 
    • A: The device doesn't necessarily need to be a single unit but it can be. The device(s) should be applicable to anywhere in the world, particularly for use in any developing country. If there are modifications needed in the design to move the device(s) around the world design teams should discuss those modifications. Teams should design a conditioning unit to improve IAQ and couple this with the assumption of indoor biomass cooking and/or heating. Again, the challenge is an open ended question to challenge teams on design and engineering skills. Teams are encouraged to brainstorm and describe how challenges can be overcome and then as well describe and document not only the idea but the justification behind the idea. Suggestion: research what is available on the current market for portable conditioning units, clean indoor biomass combustion, and couple these with good IAQ processes. Develop a design which will improve IAQ in residences and is accessible for developing economies all across the world.
  12. Q: Do each of the individual teams determine the location of the developing area that the air filtration system will be used at? For example, in Africa or South America.
    • A: The device(s) should be applicable to anywhere in the world, particularly for use in any developing country. If there are modifications needed in the design to move the device(s) around the world design teams should discuss those modifications.
  13. Q: Is the average income per family a factor that needs to be considered during the design of the system? If the families cannot afford the unit, will that factor into the judging?
    • A: Teams should design a conditioning unit to improve IAQ and couple this with the assumption of indoor biomass cooking and/or heating. Again, the challenge is an open ended question to challenge teams on design and engineering skills.Teams are encouraged to brainstorm and describe how challenges can be overcomed and then as well describe and document not only the idea but the justification behind the idea. How could you make the unit more affordable for very low income families?
  14. Q: What is the definition of portable for this challenge?
    • A: Design teams should make engineering assumptions on what "portable" means and document and justify those assumptions.
  15. Q: The OPR document outlines a financial budget.  Does this budget include locally available government financial incentives(particularly for sites other than New York)or do financial incentives add to the funds available for the project?
    • A: No, the financial budget listed in the OPR is what is available from the Owner to build the project and doesn't include other incentives. If other financial incentives are available, they should be documented and discussed and used in the project as applicable.
  16. Q: Are the process cooling and service hot water systems part of the competition submission requirements?
    • A:Yes. Any system with an impact of total building energy use should be discussed
  17. Q: Regarding the water chillers for the Design Calc, do we need to just size and select a system and run a life cycle cost analysis, or do we also need to design a piping network system to the R&D areas?
    • A: Detailed piping design and analysis is not required for the competition. However, a superior submission might address the pertinent points of a typical piping design then describe and apply those points to a LCCA to demonstrate understanding. For example, using different piping materials or variable speed pumping and how these items will effect cost or energy usage.
  18. Q: Is this supposed to apply for each of the four R&D areas or all four of them?  As in 32 GPm per R&D area for a total of 128 GPM for all R&D areas?  Or  32 GPM for all four, meaning 8 GPM per area?
    • A: Chilled water flow is 32 GPM total for all areas.
  19. Q: I think we should add on a question in regards to the negative pressure associated with the R&D labs. Possibly they only intended for the negative pressure to be associated with the one lab space that surrounds the clean room. This would be beneficial.
    • A: All R&D labs need to be negatively pressurized to adjacent spaces.
  20. Q: Is an air-lock room provided between the R&D laboratories and the rest rest of the building, and the Clean Room to R&D laboratory? If not, should we include an air-lock room between these spaces since the ACH are significantly different?
    • A: The design team needs to determine how to maintain pressurization between spaces, if deemed necessary an air-lock or vestibule should be provided.
  21. Q: Is the OPR Manual accurate in describing the Clean Room as a Class 100 Clean Room that would require approximately 240 ACH?
    • A: Yes, the OPR is correct.
  22. Q:  Hello, I just have a quick question pertaining to the heat load calculation software we are allowed to use. I have access to Trane Trace software at my internship and was wondering if I could use that to help calculate the heat loads or if we are required to do all calculations by hand. Also I was wondering if there was any information about the u-factor of the exterior walls and windows so that I can take into account the heat lost from exterior walls.
    • A: Trane Trace is acceptable for performing calculations. Utilize ASHRAE 90.1 to make assumptions on u-values and justify the response in the final submission.
  23. Q: Is there any proposed reflected ceiling plan or ceiling grid that can be emailed to me or does the client want open ceilings or is it up to us to decide?
    • A: Design teams are free to choose ceiling plans. Please describe and justify in your response.
  24. Q: In the ISBD comp.  I am not able to understand the requirements.  Do we select a site and design an office building as per our wish or is it a renovation project.  If it is a renovation project i am not able to find any cad drawings.  It would be nice if i can know about the ISBD challenge more in detail.  A speedy reply would be appreciated.
  25. Q: ASHRAE Applied Engineering Challenge report: It's said in the guidance that the technical report should be 10 pages maximum. Is the number of appendixes for the report included in the 10 pages maximum requirement?
  26. Q: Is there any specific mechanical room for HVAC equipment, and if there is, where is it, or it could be positioned at the roof?
    • A: Detailed mechanical room design is not particularly needed for this competition. Place the mechanical room where ever the Design Team feels would be best and justify the selection in the report.
  27. Q: On first floor plane there are storage rooms 113, 114 and 115 in RDA. Are there the same design requirements for interior conditions as in R&D?
    • A: Yes.
  28. Q: How many people are employed, how many people should we considered in office area?
    • A: In absence of specific population data, use the default values for population as listed in the referenced ASHRAE Standards.

If there is anything you think is missing from the documentation given, your response should be to research your options, make a best determination of what you should do, document this situation and your decision, and move forward.