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HVACR Student Engineering Team Takes Second in 2010 International Competition

BpictureIG RAPIDS – The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently awarded second place to a student engineering team at Ferris State University in the System Selection category of the 2010 ASHRAE Student Design Competition.

Team members Nathan Cazee of Louisville, Ky.; Dewayne Collins of Nashville, Tenn.; Ryan Dibble of Muskegon; Sarah Kelley of Ann Arbor; Nathan Toland of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Ben Quist of Grandville analyzed, engineered and selected a full mechanical system for the Ginsburg Tower of Florida Hospital Orlando Campus.

The $255 million facility, which opened in 2008, contains 440 patient rooms, an emergency room area nearly the size of a football field and a cardiovascular institute. Additionally, the 15-story building is currently the tallest of all Florida Hospital buildings.

To complete the requirements of competition, design teams in universities around the world were required to analyze the designs of three systems each team determined to meet the requirements of the building. Ultimately, teams would examine the pros and cons of each system and make a recommendation of the most appropriate system for the application.

The Ferris State team weighed their systems against the most current safety and comfort of hospital patients and staff, ASHRAE standards, local standards and codes, energy consumption and cost, equipment installation, maintenance, and replacement, impact on the local environment, the United States Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating system, synergy with architecture and selecting an innovative design. The student team at Ferris State decided on a solar absorption chillers and Series III Desiccant Wheel system working with chilled beam terminal units to mitigate the high heat load in this nearly all glass structure with high power density throughout.

“Participating in the competition was one of the several reasons I chose to attend the HVAC program at Ferris,” Cazee said. “It was a great learning experience that has helped in preparing me for the position in which I now have. Being a part of this team was the highlight of my career at Ferris. It was interesting learning about new technologies and finding ways to apply them to the hospital.”

Added Collins, “Few engineers are faced with the challenge of such an involved building as the Ginsburg tower during their careers. The HVACR program at Ferris State gave us the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve such a daunting task. In the process, I think our team had a lot of fun with this project.”

Ferris Associate Professor and ASHRAE Advisor Mike Korcal said, “In my opinion, this has been one of the most complicated buildings the Ferris HVACR students have had to work on since first competing in the ASHRAE design and equipment selection competition. The students spent a considerable number of hours of their own time working on this 14 story critical care hospital in Orlando, Fla., and I am very proud with the work they did and how they represented Ferris State University on the international stage.”

The Ferris team is slated to accept their award at the 2011 ASHRAE Winter Meeting in Las Vegas, Nev.