ASHRAE Funds 24 Undergraduate Projects; Aerial Vehicle for Energy Audits

ATLANTA, March 9, 2016 – Engineers will get a bird’s eye view of the energy use of building envelopes under a project funded through an ASHRAE Undergraduate Senior Project Grant.

This year, 24 schools from around the world were awarded grants. The grants, totaling some $110,000, are awarded by ASHRAE to colleges and universities worldwide to promote the study and teaching of HVAC&R, encouraging senior undergraduate students to pursue related careers.

The grants are used to design and construct projects, such as The University of Alabama’s proposal to use an unmanned aerial vehicle to document building energy audits. The project notes that while building audits are a key process for determining building efficiency, performance and faults, audits require knowledge of the internal building and energy system and the external building envelope, which can present a challenge.

“The vehicle would be used to quantify envelope characteristics of hard-to-reach and large regions on modern buildings,” Zheng O’Neill, Ph.D., of the Mechanical Engineering Department and advisor of the project, said. “The information will provide engineers with systematically measured control volume characteristics. For example, infrared thermal camera data will provide information of building envelope temperature, which can be used for building infiltration diagnostics.”

She will work with Charles O’Neill of the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department for the vehicle development and flight tests.

The goal of the project is to build a co-robot (human controlled with robotic assistance) quadcopter with onboard sensors including infrared temperature camera, visible light camera, heat flux sensors, direct temperature probes and location and orientation.

Other ASHRAE grant recipients are:

  • Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Design and Prototyping of a Heat Transfer Enhanced Hybrid Air Based Building Integrated Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal Collector for Net Zero Energy Building Applications
  • Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio, Chiller Control Training Boards
  • Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, A Laboratory System for Evaluating Cooling Systems in Consumer Electronic Devices
  • University of Windsor (Ontario), A Novel Membrane Absorption Heat Pump
  • University of Oregon, Eugene, Campus Audit Squads for Energy (CASE) Studies
  • Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Evaluation of Office-Level Energy Consumption Using a Sparse Sensor Network
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, Cooling and Electricity from Renewable Compressed Air
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., HVAC Heat Transfer Experiment and Modelling
  • De La Salle University-Manila, Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Laboratory Set-up of an Aqua-Ammonia Absorption System
  • University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines, Development of an Ice Storage Air Conditioning System as Laboratory Equipment for Engineer Students of University of Santo Tomas
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Solar Energy PCM Storage combined with Solar-Powered Water Purification
  • The University of Texas at Tyler, Auto Self-Balanced Zoning System
  • The University of Texas at Tyler, Phase II – TxAIRE House 2 Ground Source Heat Pump
  • Capital University of Science and Technology Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan, Design and Fabrication of a Heat Pump
  • Mapúa Institute of Technology, Manila, Philippines, Improvement of An Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory
  • Mapúa Institute of Technology, Manila, Philippines, Development of a Laboratory Set-Up of a Geothermal Air-Conditioning System
  • Texas A&M University – Kingsville, Development of a Miniature HVAC System on Wheel for Classroom Application
  • North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C., Integrated Variable Air Volume and Terminal VAV Box Control with BACnet DDC, Matlab-Based Monitoring, and Simulation Systems
  • The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Building Energy Audits Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio, Development of a Ground Source Heat Pump Simulator
  • D Y Patil, Maharashtra, India, Performance Analysis of PTC based Solar Powered Solid Adsorption Refrigeration System
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Radiant Panel Design Set
  • University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal, Development of a Clean Technology Applied in the Air Treatment and Energy Production
  • Mississippi State University, Smart Building Wireless Sensor Network

For more information on the grant program, visit ASHRAE will begin accepting applications for the 2016-17 program in August 2016, with a December 2016 final deadline.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.