ASHRAE Announces Technology Awards

Five of the top six winning projects of the 2011 ASHRAE Technology Awards are located in Canada; the lone U.S. facility is in Kansas City, MO. These ASHRAE awards recognize outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design. Winning projects are selected from entries earning regional awards. Following are summaries of the winning projects.

Mountain Equipment Co-op
Roland Charneux, P.Eng., ASHRAE Fellow, ASHRAE Certified Healthcare Facility Design Professional, Pageau Morel & Associates, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, received first place in the new commercial buildings category for the Mountain Equipment Co-op store, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada. The building is owned by the Mountain Equipment Co-op.

The Mountain Equipment Co-op store, a 2,600 sf single story retail sporting goods outlet, was designed and built for minimal impact on the environment. It was decided to maximize day lighting through a series of clerestory with a sawtooth shape roof. Also, light sensors were integrated in the design to partially or completely shut down the artificial lighting when natural lighting is sufficient. Occupancy sensors were integrated in small spaces to completely shut off lighting when not in use.

Optimization in a building envelope insulated near twice the recommendations of the Model National Energy Code for Buildings, thus reducing the overall energy needs for the building. Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) were used for their efficiency, tightness, and minimal construction time. Energy simulations showed a measured annual energy savings of 54% and cost savings of 57%.

Taking into consideration new, unpacked products that retail stores carry—which bring pollutants into the occupied zone—and racking which impedes good air distribution if supplied from the ceiling, air is supplied via underground air distribution with displacement ventilation diffusers at floor level. Additionally, the building uses active solid thermal energy storage in its concrete slab; an underground cistern to collect rain water and to feed the water closet, as well as waterless urinals; and natural/hybrid ventilation with leeward vents at roof level. Overall, the new store consumes 57% less than the recommendations provided by the Canadian Energy Model Code.

IKEA Brossard Distribution Center
Ken Sonmor, Ecovision Consulting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, received first place in the existing commercial buildings category for the IKEA Brossard Distribution Center, Quebec, Canada (owned by the IKEA Distribution Services, CA LP). The distribution center (measuring approx. 858,000 sf) consists of a warehouse, where goods are received, stored, and shipped, along with adjoining office spaces.

For lighting, nearly 700 T12 high output (HO) lighting fixtures were replaced with a combination of T8 and T5 HO lights. An additional 510 high intensity discharge fixtures were replaced with T5 HOs fixtures with custom made reflectors to bring the light where needed. Motion sensors were installed throughout, shedding 250kW of lighting power. Luminosity sensors near windows in the office areas turn off lighting when not required thus harvesting daylight.

A 160T geothermal system is now the principal source of heat for the building. To attain efficiency, a dual maglev frictionless compressor heat pump was chosen. A greater number of wells than average maintain a very close approach with the ground temperature of 50°F. This higher temperature permits the reduction of glycol concentration which benefits the efficiency of the heat pump, the heat transfer through the vertical geothermal wells and lower pumping power. These improvements allow for a coefficient of performance of 5-7 in heating—representing a 50% improvement over a traditional geothermal layout. During a typical winter, the geothermal system is capable of supplying 70% of required heat.

The overall project thus provides greater occupant comfort, while realizing greater than 50% dollar energy savings.

Université de Sherbrooke
René Dansereau, Dessau, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, received first place in the educational facilities category for the design of the Université de Sherbrooke—Campus de Longueuil, Quebec, Canada (owned by the Université de Sherbrooke).

The Université de Sherbrooke’s new campus building—a 16 glass tower—is one of the tallest structures on Montreal’s South Shore. The 650,000 sf campus includes classrooms, offices, and labs for nine faculties. Its architectural design focuses on open spaces and gathering areas, such as a green roof.

Designers chose an integrated design approach to the project. Though geothermal energy is rarely used in urban settings, designers connected a chiller to a geothermal system consisting of 37 vertical boreholes. The 165-ton screw chiller acts essentially like a heat pump and provides about 25% of the building’s heating and cooling capacity.

To enhance energy savings, three enthalpy wheels were installed on new ventilation units. These wheels recover latent and sensible heat that is usually lost in exhaust air. With an efficiency rate of 76%, the wheels help reduce annual heating, cooling, and humidity demands.

Along with several other energy efficient innovations, energy consumption was reduced by 46%, consequently saving over $250,000 a year on energy. Including subsidies, the return on investment for energy saving equipment is approximately two and a half years.

Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre
Paul Marmion, Stantec Consulting, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, receives first place in the new health care facilities category for the design of the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, British Columbia, Canada. The building is a Public Private Partnership (P3) sponsored and operated by Laing Investments Management Services (Canada). The building is owned by the hospital.

The Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre (ARHCC) is an acute care hospital built in the province of British Columbia. The hospital is a technologically advanced, 670,000 sf, 300 bed acute care hospital with nine operating theatres, pediatric and maternity services, inpatient isolation rooms, medical imaging and radiation cancer treatment facilities.

Marmion and his team were responsible for the design of the HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection systems. The building incorporates several features to conserve energy, one of which is two 900 ton chillers which are piped in a counter-flow configuration with chilled water temperature reset control to optimize energy efficiency, consuming a maximum of .5 Kw/ton of cooling. There was no incremental capital cost of adding the courter-flow configuration, resulting in an annual energy saving of $3,400, providing in instant payback. Additionally, the water use in the hospital has been reduced by 20.6% through the innovative use of dual flush toilets, even in the inpatient rooms, low flow lavatory and kitchen sinks and low flow showers.

The ARHCC is running 56% below the Environmental Protection Agency’s energy benchmark, using 153 kBtu/ft2 compared to the typical 350 kBtu/ft2 for a similar building. It has also been determined that the hospital is producing 3140 metric tons of CO2, compared to an equivalent facility which produced 8,470 metric tons of CO2.

Thermal Energy Corporation—Thermal Energy Storage
Blake Ellis, P.E., Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, MO, received first place in the new industrial facilities or processes category for Thermal Energy Storage at the Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX. The owner is Thermal Energy Corporation, Houston, TX.

In 2007, master planning determined that the cooling load of the 80,000 ton chilled water system that served the Texas Medical Center would double over the next two decades. The owner sought the most cost-effective way to provide the increased quantity of chilled water to the campus while maintaining the high level of reliability to serve the critical needs of the medical center.

It was determined that thermal energy storage (TES) in a load leveling scheme was the most cost-effective first step to meet the increased chilled water demand. This resulted in the selection of an 8.8 million gallon stratified chilled water storage tank; with a height of 150′, it is the tallest stratified chilled water storage tank in the world. Connecting such a tall tank that is open to the atmosphere to a closed chilled water system creates 65 psig of pressure at the bottom of the tank on both the chilled water supply and return lines connected to the tank. A traditional single direction pumping scheme could no longer be used and a simultaneous dual direction pumping scheme was created.

TES systems use slightly less energy (BTUs or kW-hr) by shifting chilled water production from the middle of the afternoon when the highest wet-bulb temperatures of the day are experienced to the evening when wet-bulb temperatures are lower. The lower wet-bulb temperatures yield lower condenser water temperatures, which allow the chillers to operate more efficiently during the night hours when the tank is charged.

Energy savings during the first year were 7 to 9% percent in the summer and approximately 5% aggregated over the entire year. Energy costs were reduced due to the real time pricing in Houston, TX. During the first 23 days of August 2011, the owner saved $500,000 in electrical energy cost due to high ($3,000+/MW-hr) electric costs.

Arena Marcel Dutil
Luc Simard, Compressor Systems Control (CSC), Les Coteaux, Quebec, Canada, received first place in the existing industrial facilities or processes category for the renovation of Arena Marcel-Dutil, St-Gédéon-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada. The building is owned by the Municipalite St-Gédéon-de-Beauce.

In 2010, the arena was equipped with the first 100% CO2 based refrigeration system for ice rinks in the world. The existing R22 chiller was removed, as well as the existing ice mat, and the concrete slab was retrofitted to install the new system. The system uses R744 as both a primary and secondary working fluid, a natural, non-toxic, and non-corrosive refrigerant listed A1 in the B52 code. Because there is no secondary fluid, the evaporating temperature of the CO2 can be set at -7 C while keeping the ice sheet at -5°C. The result is an evaporating temperature higher than other standard ice rink refrigeration systems.

The refrigeration system has a 3kW variable speed CO2 pump that reduces the power needed for circulating the cold fluid by 90% compared to secondary fluid installations. For a typical ice rink facility, the savings can be up to 125,000 kWh per year. The arena was also compared to similar projects in the area and was found to have a 25% reduction in total energy costs. Also, when comparing the new system with the old chiller using R22, and considering an annual leak rate of 15% for the old system, the total greenhouse gas reduction associated with the new 100% CO2 refrigeration system is up to 100 tons per year.