Educationimage-300.jpgDesign and construction of a “shack” to demonstrate renewable and HVAC technologies, including solar thermal heating, photovoltaic power generation, high efficiency and green insulation options and wood pellet stoves, is being developed by undergraduate students in an ASHRAE Undergraduate Senior Project Grant.

This year, 22 schools from around the world were awarded grants. The grants, totaling some $100,000, are awarded by ASHRAE to colleges and universities worldwide to promote the study and teaching of HVAC&R, encouraging senior undergraduate students to pursue related careers.

The grants are used to design and construct projects, such as Minnesota State University – Mankato’s proposal to design and construct a renewable and HVAC technologies test-bed “shack.”

“In the spirit of the Solar Decathlon and the movement toward ‘tiny homes,’ this project aims to design and build a structure of some 24 square feet that can be used to demonstrate renewable and HVAC technologies,”  Patrick Tebbe, faculty advisor at Minnesota State University – Mankato, said. “The ‘shack’ will be designed to accommodate a range of technologies for demonstration and testing in the classroom and research projects.”

Given the university is located in the heart of ice fishing territory, the shack design will be loosely based on typical ice fishing huts or shacks. The inclusion of ice fishing creates an immediate engagement for both students and the public, according to Tebbe. He said the students hope this will generate interest in energy efficiency and sustainable design topics beyond upper level engineering courses. The shack also will be portable (most likely constructed on a sled) so it could be moved to test sites, high schools, open houses, etc., allowing for greater demonstration. It also could be adapted for summer applications.

The project will incorporate a flat plate solar collector to supplement interior heating, testing of various wood and pellet fueled stoves and weather stations from previous solar research. The construction materials likely will be supplemented with recycled and reused materials found locally.

Other ASHRAE grant recipients are:

  • Purdue University – Calumet (Hammond, Ind.)  – was deemed the top grant award winner for its project, Refrigeration and Heat Pump Teaching System. Two students from the university are invited to present their project as part of the Student Program at the 2013 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Dallas.
  • American University of Beirut (Lebanon) – Test and Optimize a Zonal Air Distribution System to Inactivate Airborne Microorganisms using Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation
  • Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – Measurement of Indoor Air/Environmental Quality in Arctic Housing and University Campus Buildings
  • North Carolina A& T State University (Greensboro, N.C.) – Impacts of Air Filters on Energy Consumption in Typical HVAC Systems
  • Sinclair Community College (Dayton, Ohio) – Primary – Secondary Hot Water and Chilled Water System Design and Installation
  • Transylvania University of Brasov – Testing Laboratory Using Renewable Sources for Radiant vs. Convective Heating and Cooling
  • Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Colombia, South America) – Clima Emulator Using Chilled Water HVAC System as Energy Sourced
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (Johor) – Effect of Ejector Geometric Parameter on the Unitary Air Conditioner as an Expansion Device
  • University of Alaska Anchorage – Air Duct Simulator
  • University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada)  – Undergraduate Boiler Performance Laboratory
  • University of Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) – Design and Construction of an Energy Recovery Ventilation Demonstration Unit Using Heat Pump for Laboratory Use
  • University of Indonesia (Kampus UI Depok) – Development of Smoke Venting Demonstration Apparatus
  • University of Lagos (Nigeria)  – Design and Fabrication of a Biogas-Powered Water Refrigeration Heating System
  • University of Maryland (College Park) – Energy Consumption Analysis and Optimum Cooling Solutions for a Medium Size Data Center
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) – Desiccant Dehumidification Test Facility
  • University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada) – Underwater Compressed Air Energy Storage System Model
  •  Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green) – Air Flow Visualization System Using Infrared Thermography
  •  Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio) – Heat Powered Demonstration Chiller
  •  California State Polytechnic University (Pomona) – Moisture Control for Carbon Dioxide Sensor Applied in a Residential Furnace
  •  Jimei University (Xiamen, China)  – Design and Construction of an Experimental Facility for Fresh Air Ventilator with Exhaust Air Heat Recovery Systems
  •  University of Algarve (Faro, Portugal) – Development of Sensors for HVAC Systems Control Based in the Human Thermal-Physiology

For more information on the grant program, visit  ASHRAE will begin accepting applications for the 2013-14 program in August 2012, with a December 2012 final deadline.