Engineering practices, such as building-information modeling (BIM), geothermal and combined cooling, heating, and power are highlighted in the winning entries in the 2010 ASHRAE Student Design Competition.

This year’s competition featured a mock design of the Ginsburg Tower at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Fla. The structure, the tallest hospital building in the state, is a 15-story patient tower that contains the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute, 440 patient beds, and one of the largest emergency departments in the country. Among the 31 entries from around the world, three in particular stood out as first place winners in the three categories that the Competition offers.

First place in HVAC System Design was awarded to Nathaniel Boyd, Michael Angell, Justin Wiese, Edward Gillett, and Trong Duc Nguyen of University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla. Their faculty advisor is Marcel Ilie, PhD.

After constructing a complete BIM, the students chose a constant-volume air-handling unit as the primary air source and latent load control, and onsite combined cooling, heating, and power (CCHP) plant based on a bank of micro-turbines fueled by natural gas.

These HVAC systems eliminate nococomical infections via proper ventilation directional control and would provide uninterrupted HVAC service to hospital occupants, even during natural disasters, as well as reduction of environmental and economic impact of the HVAC design.

First place in HVAC System Selection is awarded to Matt Kolins, Joel Wheeler, Nicole Vogt, Jared Palan, Todd Kuno, and Zac Buckmiller of Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. Their faculty advisors are Fred Hasler, PE, and Julia Keen, PE.

The students selected a combination of air-handling units with patient-room heat pumps, chillers, and cooling towers and shell-and-tube heat exchangers. Additionally a geothermal loop in Lake Estelle, adjacent to the hospital, acts as a heat sink. Not only is the system environmentally conscious, but it has the best return on investment.

First place in Integrated Sustainable Building Design is awarded to Ryland Phelps, Carolyn Lamb, and Amy Rose Keyzer, of Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Mich. Their advisors are Daniel Faoro and Janice Means.

The students set out to design a sustainable and energy-efficient building without sacrificing visual appeal, while responding to climate conditions and surrounding buildings and forms.

They were able to achieve this by using water-reducing fixtures in all bathrooms, supplying alternative energy through photovoltaic panels and architectural fabric, using geothermal wells and evacuated tubes to reduce loads on mechanical equipment and implementing a daylighting system to reduce lighting loads and bring daylight into the building.

The first place teams will be given 10 to 15 min to present their projects at the 2011 Winter Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., Jan 29 to Feb. 2.