Buildings designed for a range of occupant types are being recognized for innovative design with ASHRAE Technology Awards.

According to ASHRAE, the awards recognize outstanding achievements by ASHRAE members and building owners who have successfully applied innovative building design. Their designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and indoor air quality and serve to communicate innovative systems design. Winning projects are selected from entries earning regional awards.

First place awards are presented at the ASHRAE 2015 Winter Conference, Jan. 24-28, in Chicago. 

Following are summaries of the nine projects receiving first place.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

William C. Weinaug Jr., P.E., vice president, exp U.S. Services Inc. in Maitland, FL., receives first place in the existing industry facilities or processes category for the Antarctica Empire of the Penguin animal exhibit and ride attraction in Orlando, FL. The facility is owned by Sea World Parks and Entertainment Inc.

The building includes a 6,000-sq-ft immersive dark ride and penguin exhibit in a 30,000-sq-ft space, including spaces for bird holding, brooding, and life support systems. The project included a major expansion and renovation to an existing penguin encounter, with a portion of the original space, animal pools, and life support spaces reused to save costs.

When creating a 32°F space in hot and humid Orlando, the efficiency of the systems and envelope is crucial. The facility is designed to minimize energy use while providing a habitat for penguins to thrive.

Another important factor in design is indoor air quality for both penguins and guests. In regard to thermal comfort, the criteria were driven by birds’ comfort instead of humans. Human comfort was measured by how well odors were controlled, particularly guest perception of the natural odor of penguin guano. Designers also had to protect the birds from mold and fungi not common to their native environment.

The facility contains many innovative systems, such as use of condenser water for heating and defrosting of iced coils. To ensure proper envelope was maintained while allowing thousands of people to flow through the building, sally ports and quick acting doors were added to keep cold in and moisture out. For the queue, ride, and exhibit spaces control and concern focused on dew point. Self-contained liquid desiccant air conditioning units were used to control the space dew point by creating cold and dry air as efficiently as possible.

Centre Civique de Dollard-des-Ormeaux

Kateri Héon, Ing., project manager; and Pietro Guerra, Ing., mechanical-electrical director; exp, in Montreal, Quebec, receive first place in the existing other institutional buildings category for Centre Civique de Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec. The building is owned by the Ville de Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

The 225,000-sq-ft building features three National Hockey League regulation-size skating rinks, swimming pools, the town’s city hall and library, and a cultural center.

An energy efficiency program was developed to increase the performance of the refrigeration system for the three indoor rinks and then to recover the energy rejected from the center compressors to heat the building. The design team chose a system that featured a direct carbon dioxide heating and regeneration of a dehumidifier desiccant wheel, which is the first time this system has been used in a rink in North America. The system also is the first to use carbon dioxide in a multi-rink complex and the first to use carbon dioxide to cool the brine, thereby avoiding having to re-do the slabs in the rinks.

Other efficiency measures included:

• Four-pass brine distribution reduces by more than 50% the brine pump power compared to the old two-pass distribution.

• Low-e ceiling above the skating rinks to limit the radiative heat exchange between the hot ice rinks ceiling and the cold ice sheets.

• Expanded water storage by the use of an existing 600-L tank to accumulate preheated domestic hot water.

• New dehumidifiers for the pool using heat pipes to preheat entering air and energy recovery system.

• Sensitive energy recuperators on the exhaust vents for the arena and pool changing rooms to preheat fresh air.

The annual electricity savings for the project totaled $247,000 or a 31% cost reduction from the previous baseline.

Federal Center South – Building 12021

Benjamin Frank Gozart, engineer; Tom Marseille, P.E., managing director of WSP; Charles Chaloeicheep, P.E. of WSP Built Ecology in Seattle; and Tom Boysen Jr., P.E., senior project manager of  Sellen Construction, Seattle, receive first place in the new commercial buildings category for Federal Center South, Building 12021, in Seattle. The building is owned by the U.S. General Services Administration.

Federal Center South is a three-story, 209,000-sq-ft facility with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District as the exclusive tenant.

The project used an integrated design approach that focused on energy conservation measures vs. expensive on-site energy generation strategies. Floor depth, façade design, and daylighting are optimized to reduce heating and cooling requirements and the amount of artificial lighting. Several innovative technologies are included: passive chilled sails, thermal storage using phase change material, a 100% outside air ventilation system with heat recovery of exhaust serving a raised floor ventilation air distribution system, and heat recovery chillers tied to a high efficiency low temperature heating/high temperature cooling hydronic system.

The project includes use of ground loop heat exchange piping in almost 50% of the building’s grout-filled steel pipe piles that provide needed structural support for the building. These 100 tons of “energy piles” efficiently reject waste heat and extract heat from the ground. In the summer, waste heat is rejected into the ground as a priority over an evaporative fluid cooler to save both energy and water. In the winter, heat is extracted from the ground and elevated to useful temperatures for heating the building through the use of the heat recovery chillers. The ground loop heat exchanger improves the building’s energy use intensity substantially, reduces the building’s carbon footprint, and saves water.

The total building energy cost usage was shown to be 40.5% less than the ASHRAE baseline. The yearly total building energy cost was modeled at $80,740 compared to baseline of $135,791.

Janesville Ice Arena Addition and Renovation

Jason Troy LaRosh, P.E., mechanical engineer for Angus-Young Associates in Janesville, WI, receives first place in the existing public assembly category for the Janesville Ice Arena addition and renovation. The building is owned by the City of Janesville.

The project included renovation of the existing 26,000-sq-ft arena with the addition of 2,000-sq-ft that included new locker rooms, an ice resurfacing melt pit, and resurfacing equipment storage area.

The original ice refrigeration system, installed in 1964, was a direct refrigeration system that used R-22 refrigerant circulated in piping embedded in the floor. The new system incorporates a pond loop geothermal system to handle the high refrigeration needs of the arena. The system uses a city owned pond as thermal storage to pull and reject heat to the ice refrigeration system which is made up of three water source heat pumps. The use of a pond loop geothermal system as it relates to an ice sheet refrigeration system is unique as the system takes advantage of the pond’s ability to maintain relatively constant temperatures.

The water source heat pumps use R-410A refrigerant, which does not contain bromine or chlorine and is considered a non-ozone depleting refrigerant. The geothermal system transfers energy to and from the pond without burning fossil fuels.

The updates to the building energy systems resulted in an annual natural gas energy savings of 33.5% from 2010 to 2013. The overall facility energy usage intensity was reduced by 24.1%, from 234.6 kBtu/sq ft per year in 2010 to 178 kBtu/sq ft per year in 2013.

Peace Island Medical Center

Mark Stavig, P.E., principal of CDi+Mazzetti in Lynnwood, WA, receives first place in the new health care facilities category for Peace Island Medical Center in San Juan Island, WA. The building is owned by PeaceHealth.

The building, a 40,000-sq-ft high performance, critical access hospital and clinic, contains 10 inpatient beds, emergency and imaging areas, surgery departments, and an ambulatory outpatient clinic with a cancer care center.

Island resources are limited, which made sustainable choices vital and simple design necessary. The mechanical system was designed to use only electricity, the only available energy source on the island. The project employs numerous energy efficiency measures and achieves an average EUI of 87.7 kBtu/sq ft per year.

Passive design strategies provide for load reductions and facilitate natural ventilation. A conscious effort was made to reduce cooling demand resulting from building envelope and plug loads. The orientation allows for controlled penetration of sun for passive solar heat in exam and waiting areas. Unwanted heat gain is minimized on the east and west exposures. Heat gain from solar is further controlled with the use of appropriate overhangs. Roofs are sloped to the south allowing for future installations of solar collectors. A major contributor to energy reduction was the use of decentralized systems sized to specific loads. This approach allows for systems to be tailored to the individual needs of each program area.

Other measures include operable windows, a ground source heat pump, a variable air volume system, and heat recovery ventilators.

Tacoma Center for Urban Waters

Matthew William Longsine, P.E., associate; and Henry Di Gregorio, senior vice president of WSP in Seattle, receive first place in the new other institutional buildings category for the Tacoma Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma, WA. The building is owned by the National Development Council, HEDC Public-Private Partnerships on behalf of the City of Tacoma.

The 51,000-sq-ft lab facility functions as a shared research facility for the City of Tacoma, the University of Washington, and Puget Sound Partnership. It focuses on receiving and analyzing water samples from the waterways of Tacoma and surrounding areas.

Design features include heat recovery, energy efficient lighting, daylighting, natural ventilation, radiant floors, low-e glass and exterior operable shading, variable air volume low flow fume hoods, low flow plumbing fixtures, rainwater harvesting, green roof, and energy efficiency HVACR components.

One of most innovative features is a geoexchange system. At depths below 12 ft, the earth is typically at a relatively constant temperature compared with the surrounding air (approximately 55°F in the Puget Sound Region). When feasible, this makes it an ideal medium to either reject heat from the building in the cooling cycle or draw energy from the earth for heating the building. The geoexchange ground loop will last the life of the building without requiring replacement.

Valley Middle School

Brian Haugk, P.E., mechanical principal; and Brian Cannon, mechanical senior associate with Hargis Engineers Inc. in Seattle, receive first place in the new educational facilities category for Valley View Middle School in Snohomish, WA. The school is owned by Snohomish School District No. 201.

The directive from the school district was to build on experience gained from two previous highly sustainable school projects and to make the building as energy efficient and maintenance?friendly as possible.

A ground source system sized for 100% of the central plant heating and cooling capacity was selected. A water-to-water heat pump (WWHP) allowed the design team to utilize displacement ventilation, which requires very tight discharge air temperature control to maintain occupant comfort, only achievable with a WWHP system. This project was one of the first to use this technology in the region and fully integrate the factory controls with the building energy management system (EMS).

An EMS based energy dashboard system with touch screen monitors at multiple locations allows staff and students to learn about the sustainable features of the building. To further spark the interest of the student population, the EMS metering design of the lighting, plug, and HVAC systems allowed for competition zones to be created in two classroom pods. This allows students to interact with the building systems to see what kind of impact they have on the overall energy usage.

The project saw a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 530 metric ton carbon dioxide equivalent reduction based on northwest region utility average emissions and 1,079 metric ton carbon dioxide equivalent reduction based on national utility average emissions.

Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S Courthouse

Roger (Jui-Chen) Chang, P.E., BEMP, principal and director of engineering and sustainability for Westlake Reed Leskosky in Washington, D.C., receives first place in the existing commercial buildings category for the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Grand Junction, CO. The building is owned by the U.S. General Services Administration, Rocky Mountain Region and was completed by WRL with The Beck Group.

ASHRAE officials said the project converted a 1918 landmark into one of the most energy efficient, sustainable historic buildings in the country. To meet aggressive performance goals, including energy independence and energy efficiency, design included:

• A roof canopy-mounted 123 kW photovoltaic array (generating electricity on-site to power 15 average homes)

• Addition of spray foam and rigid insulation to building shell

• Storm windows with solar control film to reduce demand on HVAC

• Variable-refrigerant flow heating and cooling systems tied to a 32-well geoexchange loop

• A dedicated outdoor air system with evaporative cooling and heat recover, wireless controls, and fluorescent and LED lighting upgrades

The project not only preserved a piece of cultural heritage and an anchor in the Grand Junction community, but also converted this 96-year-old property into one of the most sustainable and energy efficient buildings in the General Service Administration’s portfolio, showcasing how innovative technology and building preservation work hand-in-hand to create sustainable design.

Westhills Recreation Center

Art Sutherland, president of Accent Refrigeration Systems in Victoria, B.C., receives first place in the new public assembly category for the Westhills Recreation Center in Langford, B.C. The building is owned by the City of Langford.

The 75,000-sq-ft recreation facility includes a National Hockey League size indoor ice rink, an outdoor ice rink, a skating trail joining the two together, a bowling alley, offices, and a restaurant.

The mechanical system for the three ice surfaces are integrated into the building HVAC system to the extent that no fossil fuels are used for the facility other than in the kitchen. The outdoor rink offers an energy balance opportunity in winter by providing additional rejected energy during the heating season. Even with the extensive use of energy, only 40% of the waste energy is required within the complex. The remaining 60% is pumped 400 yards to the growing Westhills housing development as an energy source for their household heat pumps.

The project turned a typical arena sub-floor heating system into an enhanced geothermal field. It is the first in North America to use new ultra high efficient reciprocating compressors and the first total integration between an ice facility and an entire community. ASHRAE also reports that the center is the first in North America to utilize ammonia heat pumps to heat a housing community and is one of only a few ammonia based air conditioning systems.