At its recently held Building Performance Analysis Conference, ASHRAE recognized the teams that took part in its 2019 LowDown Showdown modeling competition. Held in conjunction with the Building Performance Analysis Conference September 27-29, 2019 in Denver, CO, the ASHRAE LowDown Showdown engages architects, engineers, designers, and energy modelers by working on integrated teams in the creation of effective workflow and outstanding design in real-word building efficiency challenges.
“The competition not only challenged teams to achieve near net-zero, but also to include design and modeling elements to create a resilient building capable of withstanding natural disasters and providing prolonged emergency operations,” said Annie Marston, competition chair.
This year’s model building was a 90,000 square foot city hall (new construction) located in San Diego, CA. The project involved designing a facility that is meant to be a multi-functional building, housing many of the city’s vital public services including being an Emergency Operations Center in times of disaster or crisis.
Teams were evaluated in six categories:
- Energy use
- Innovative approach
First place and fan favorite were awarded to the C.R.E.A.M. team (Carbon Rules Everything Around Me) for a proposed city hall that can maintain operations for 14 days during a utility outage to coordinate emergency responses while maintaining critical functions like prisoner life safety and security. During an event, the building will transition to a setback mode, minimizing energy consumption by relaxing thermal comfort targets. Building systems will then draw energy from a 10,000 kWh battery system & 427 KW PV array for power and 10 kgal potable & 20 kgal non-potable water storage tanks.
“We saw the Lowdown Showdown as an opportunity for our team to collaborate across Built Ecology offices coast to coast and to experiment using new tools and workflows,” said Jason Lackie, team captain for C.R.E.A.M. “With the wide-ranging scope of this year’s competition — encompassing aspects of energy, water, resiliency, and health and wellness — everyone had a chance to step up and showcase their expertise while also being challenged to integrate that work with an evolving design. As much as the pallet of tools we drew on helped with this multifaceted design problem, our team’s success depended on our ability to collaborate through obstacles.”
The diagram below illustrates the C.R.E.A.M building design.
Highway to Sustainability (Second Place)
This second place team designed a new city hall with a three-story atrium to provide ample space for green walls, skylight, and natural breeze. The project included a spacious semi-outdoor area for fitness activities and the deployment of EnergyBox, an in-house web platform which speeds up design exploration by automating processes and encouraging collaboration by effective visualization.
The team’s project included elevated walkways to surrounding critical government buildings for quick access to the Emergency Operations Center residing inside the new city hall. The vertically massed city hall would be designed not only to transform the skyline, but to create opportunities for resiliency against forecasted disasters, increasing energy efficiency during the regular operation and to provide a safe and healthy environment for the occupants.
The team incorporated parametric modeling to replace design assumptions made with data-driven simulations to achieve a holistic design that exceeds technical requirements, leverages passive strategies, and supports use during emergency situations. Using both proprietary and open-source software for the parametric modeling, the base digital model allowed for interface with energy, daylighting, and climate analysis tools.
The team’s project included assembling an integrated team using a variety of design tools to achieve a net positive building designed for comfort, using dynamic glazing, natural ventilation, and a green roof outdoor amenity. Resilience features included underground water cistern, PV, and battery storage.
See complete project overviews here, including team posters on the 2019 ASHRAE LowDown Showdown Modeling Challenge.
Perhaps ASHRAE has discovered strategies it can use for its new headquarters facility in Atlanta, GA. Earlier this year, the association shared details for the renovation, for which key project goals were said to be showcasing an affordable, net-zero energy strategy, and transforming an existing building to a high-performance workplace.