December 7th 2020

Loughborough University Students Success in ASHRAE Integrated Sustainable Building Design Competition

Loughborough University Students Success in ASHRAE Integrated Sustainable Building Design Competition

Students from the MSc in Low Energy Building Services Engineering course at Loughborough University have won the ASHRAE Integrated Sustainable Building Design Competition for two consecutive years (2019 and 2020), and are on track for 2021's competition with their innovative use of IESVE for their project of designing a building that is approaching "Zero Energy". The new building is located in a university campus in Prince George, BC, Canada and consists of a two-story cafeteria, associated office, and commercial kitchen and storage space.

The 2020 ISBD team received the award and honour from ASHRAE President Darryl Boyce (2019-2020) during the ASHRAE winter conference 2020 in Orlando. 

Below are summaries from the Loughborough University students of the 2019 and 2020 winning projects:

Four Storey Hospital Building, Budapest (Winner 2019)

The brief was set to design a new sustainable four storey hospital building as part of an existing building in Budapest which serves surgical, clinical, medical and offices. 

IESVE was used to develop the energy model and analyse our strategies to design a sustainable building which complies with ASHRAE 189.1 and LEED v4.

Initially the baseline model was developed using Model IT and simulated using the ApacheSim to determine the baseload of the building. The baseload was 233.4 kwh/m2/yr and the major energy was for lighting load.

In the proposed design we altered the floor layout and exchanged Level 1 and Level 2. The purpose of this was to improve the daylight levels in the patient rooms which was initially located in Level 1. Simulations were performed in IES Radiance helped us to maximise the daylight levels. Also, the orientation of the building was tested using IESVE to find the best orientation for energy and daylight performance.

The proposed model used overhangs for solar shading, PV panels for renewable energy generation, Passivhaus U-values, biomass boilers and daylighting strategies and the simulation in IESVE showed a 59.1% reduction in overall energy consumption and 33.8% reduction CO2 emissions. 

Sustainable Rare Book Storage and Archive Centre, Mumbai (Winner 2020)

The scope of the 2020 competition was to design for a sustainable rare book storage and archive centre in Mumbai, India. The facility aims to restore documentations of historical significance while also providing areas for study, library & office spaces for staff. A major requirement of the brief is meeting ASHRAE Standard 189.1: Standard for The Design of High-Performance Green Buildings. 

Students used their knowledge in IESVE modelling from their coursework and dissertation to come up with a design. The students also applied their knowledge in sustainability and low energy from the master’s course to come up with a novel and climatic reactive design. Initially, a model was developed in order to establish base values which was used to highlight areas needed to be targeted to optimise energy reduction and thermal comfort. A strategy the team adopted was to exhaust passive design measures before implementing low and zero carbon technologies and this involved the following:

  • Implement a more stringent criteria for the building envelope. Instead of adhering and satisfying the requirement of ASHRAE 189.1, the team opted for the Passivhaus standard for the building element’s thermal properties. This led to significant reductions in the cooling load. 
  • The climatic analysis concluded that only cooling will be required due to the extreme hot nature of Mumbai. Therefore, an enhancement was to reduce vertical fenestration and increase horizontal fenestration. The rationale behind the decision was to reduce solar gain while maximising the natural daylight intake into the space. Figure 1 shows the daylighting maximisation as modelled on IESVE. 

  • The building was also rotated by 90o anti-clockwise in order to reduce both visual discomfort and the cooling load within the building. Figure 2 shows the change in orientation.

  • Natural Green walls were also introduced to improve wellbeing and also act as a localised carbon sink within the study area as it improves productivity.

Different low and zero carbon technologies were implemented in order to offset the remaining energy demand to meet a net zero energy quota. Technologies were carefully selected to reflect that of the studied environment. Since the cooling required the most energy, a Ground Source Heat Pump (GHSP) was proposed due to its improved efficiency. As the ground temperature in Mumbai was much less than the ambient temperature, the subcooling will be much higher compared to an AC system. As such the coefficient of performance (COP) and energy efficiency ratio of the system will be higher than a conventional system value. 

IESVE was used to model the performance of PV cells under the climate of Mumbai & the energy demand of the building. The analysis found that an array of 600 m2 monocrystalline PV cells was adequate to meet the remaining the energy demand of the project and thus building was awarded a ‘platinum’ rating as per The Indian Green Building Council framework and an ASHRAE Building EQ rating of ‘0’ (Highest rating possible). In terms of lifecycle costing, the building was able to attain a return of investment within the lifecycle of the of the project thus satisfying the client requirement. 

IES wish the students all the very best of luck in the 2021 competition.