ASHRAE UK Chapter Students Secure First Place in Net Zero Energy Design Competition

In a remarkable display of innovation and expertise, five postgraduate students from Loughborough University’s Net Zero Building Services Engineering (NZBSE) MSc course have achieved an exceptional milestone by securing first place at the prestigious ASHRAE Setty Family Foundation Net Zero Energy Design competition. Tom Crook, Alex He, Girishkumar Gudnennavar, Rodrigo Gonzalez Morra, and Mirza Habeebullah Baig, with their cutting-edge design, not only brought accolades to their institution but also highlighted the ASHRAE UK Chapter’s dedication to promoting excellence among its student members.

The Setty Family Foundation Net Zero Energy Design competition presented a challenge that required teams to merge diverse disciplines – electrical, building, and mechanical design – to create an energy-efficient, sustainable project approaching a zero net energy building. The Loughborough University team’s winning design encompassed a range of key features, including high-performance fabric, solar PV, free cooling and heating systems, heat recovery from high-performance chillers, energy electrification, green roofs utilizing recycled water, thermal mass, and energy-efficient lighting.

The victory was not just a personal achievement for the students; it was a testament to the institution’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the field of building services engineering. Professor Mahroo Eftekhari, Programme Director of Net Zero Building Services Engineering MSc, and Dimitris Tseno, Doctoral Researcher in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, provided crucial mentorship to the winning team.

Professor Mahroo Eftekhari noted, “This momentous victory marks the third time out of five competitions that Loughborough University and NZBSE MSc students have claimed the top spot in the ASHRAE Net Zero Energy Design competition, showcasing our institution’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the field of building services engineering.”

This achievement not only brings well-deserved accolades to the university but also emphasizes their dedication to sustainable building practices and cutting-edge research. The triumph also underscores the support and collaboration of the university’s industrial partners in their pursuit of excellence.

As a recognition of their outstanding achievement, each of the five team members will receive a $1,000 award. This award comes in addition to the £250 they were previously awarded during the launch of the ASHRAE UK chapter for making it to the finals. The team members have also been granted free registration to the 2024 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Chicago, USA, including complimentary transportation and accommodation during the conference. The prestigious awards ceremony will take place during the ASHRAE Winter Conference, where the team will be honored by the ASHRAE President.

The success of the Loughborough University team highlights not only their prowess in the field of building services engineering but also underscores the commitment of ASHRAE UK Chapter to fostering excellence and innovation among its student members. The ASHRAE UK Chapter’s emphasis on student activities and the promotion of their accomplishments is evident through such victories.

In a similar vein of triumph, The University of Sheffield has secured the coveted first prize in the ASHRAE HVAC System Selection competition. A team of five dedicated undergraduate students orchestrated this impressive victory, marking their debut participation in the competition.

The triumph of the University of Sheffield’s team is a testament to the power of collaboration and a pioneering spirit. Not only did they clinch victory, but they did so with a remarkable display of creativity and forward thinking. The students exhibited a commendable ability to surpass the requirements of the brief, striving to minimize both operational and embodied carbon footprints linked to their system. Their tenacious approach to tackling environmental challenges sets a remarkable precedent for aspiring the future engineers.

In recognition of their extraordinary achievement, the team and the ASHRAE UK Chapter have chosen to dedicate this award to the memory of Edward Murphy, affectionately known as “Eddie.” His influence was instrumental in inspiring the students to engage with ASHRAE, and it is evident that his legacy lives on through their resounding success. As the University of Sheffield’s reputation soars with this victory, it stands as a beacon of aspiration for students and institutions alike, showcasing the potential that lies within the convergence of collaboration, innovation, and dedication.

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