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ASHRAE Lowdown Showdown

By Suzanne Wallace on Monday 30 November 2015

The ASHRAE LowDown Showdown is a new competition which was launched at the ASHRAE Energy Modeling Conference to showcase the work of several teams competing to model a new net-zero building. Each team was coached by a participating software vendor and comprised of different professionals from across the industry. The IESVE was used by team IES, who won the ‘Best Energy Use Results’ category of the competition.

The brief was to design a three-story; 53,600ft2 office building that included a number of specific design challenges, but also encouraged design creativity. Projects were judged on energy efficiency, design creativity, workflow innovation, teamwork and collaboration.

The team decided to make the challenge even more challenging by locating the building in downtown Boulder, where the climate experiences vast and extreme variations including annual external conditions ranging from (-4° F to 93°F); (6% -100% Relative Humidity) and commonly occurring daytime-to-night-time temperature swings of 35°F.

The team considered 150+ Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) and eventually chose 25-30 strategically sequenced ECMs, which included daylight harvesting controls; natural ventilation with exposed thermal mass and automated night-purge control; an air-to-water heat pump; energy-star equipment; plug load schedules from metered ZNE evangelists; fixed and dynamic solar shading; airside heat-recovery wheel; IT server virtualization; radiant floors for improved thermal comfort; an optimized electric lighting design; a high-performance envelope with heat-mirror glazing and insulated panels. Finally, the integral ECM of the building showcased a passive negatively-airflow-integrated atrium, which considered all climatic eventualities.

Read the full case study.