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Student Recaps from Winter Conference!

The Golden Gate Chapter provided travel grants to send students to the Winter Conference in Atlanta. Here are recaps from those students:

Megan Dawe

This was my second ASHRAE Conference, so I was equipped with a better handle on the event, and a more purposeful strategy to attend seminars and sessions. I attended events that pertain to my area of research: occupant comfort and radiant heating and cooling systems, including the following:

  • SSPC 55 meetings Saturday and Sunday, where presented some of my research on mean radiant temperature and suggest changes to the standard prescriptive path

  • Seminars and sessions on occupant-centric design: Seminar 15 Occupant-centric Control Technologies: Assessing Comfort, Energy Use and Cost Tradeoff; Conference Paper Session 6 Maximizing Thermal Comfort and International Design; and Conference Paper Session 10 Human Factors Design for Residential Buildings

  • Seminar 26 Load Calculations Considerations for Radiant Systems

  • The student tour of the Kendada Building at Georgia Tech

The conference showcased the importance and benefit for ASHRAE to evolve and keep pace with changes in industry. I observed this in two separate ways. First, from presentations and proposals on better aligning ASHRAE methods and definitions for radiant systems. Second, through presentations considering the use of personal comfort models and occupant-centric strategies rather than establishing an average condition for all occupants.

The objective of several presentations I attended was to use occupant data and sensing technology to improve satisfaction and avoid unnecessary energy consumption from lighting, plug loads, and HVAC systems. With currently available sensing technologies and IoT, we are able to collect substantial amounts of data that can be combined with subjective responses about comfort and satisfaction to test against models, such as PMV, and suggest improved models, such as personal comfort models using machine learning algorithms. Ultimately, research in this area combined with increasing data availability and understandings of thermal comfort can help meet the 80% thermal acceptability goals in ASHRAE.

All of the work that was discussed was brought to life during a tour of the Kendada Building at Georgia Tech, which is under construction and designed to meet Living Building Challenge criteria. The building will use radiant heating and cooling with DOAS through overhead diffusers for ventilation, and ceiling fans to provide comfort and allow for temperature setpoints to be outside of the conventional range. Research from the ASHRAE community is critical in allowing for design and improvements of high performance buildings such as this.

I would like to thank the Golden Gate Chapter for the opportunity to attend the conference.

Carlos Duarte

As a recipient of a Golden Gate travel grant, I experienced my first ASHRAE Winter Conference. The first thing I can say is that I was impressed by the amount of people that attended this event. I started feeling nervous and intimidated seeing all these people from all over the world since I was going to standup in front of them and present a project that I was part of in a seminar. However, that feeling started to fade away as soon I got the chance to network and tell people more about my presentation in advance. My presentation was about the development and demonstration of a tool for the early design of high thermal mass radiant systems. I got the sense that people were going to be interested in what I had to say once I was up at the podium and that this tool is going to have a positive impact for the design of radiant systems. Overall, delivering this presentation was not as bad as imagined.

I was equally impressed with the AHR Expo. I have heard from ASHRAE Winter Conference veterans, that this expo is enormous, and you can just walk up and down the aisles for hours seeing the latest products and innovations in the HVACR industry. They were not kidding! I speed walked through those aisles trying to get a glimpse of the products that were on display. I could not believe that these companies bought in large chillers, cooling towers, and air handling units to display. I would stop occasionally at a few booths that grabbed my attention. One of these booths was a booth with a virtual reality (VR) headset. The tool can scan and create a 3D model of a space and its contents to allow designers experience the space back at their office on a one-to-one scale with the VR headset and see how their proposed modifications will fit in with the existing space. I thought that was really cool and with the demonstration I got, I can see the use of VR/augmented reality technology as common practice in the building industry in the future. The AHR Expo is definitely enormous and you really need to be there in order to get a sense on just how big it is.

I also attended sessions and a TC that were interested to me and can help with my research interests. For example, I attended a session that demonstrated that in general we are not doing a good job at documenting control sequences of operation. Multiple control contractors can come up with very different control sequence algorithms using the same written sequences developed by the engineer. Thus, it was useful to see what the shortfalls are and learn about ways to improve this process since controls is one of the research interests that I have. I also attended TC 4.1 which deals with cooling load calculations. I am interested in this committee because I feel that we can improve the way we calculate the cooling load for buildings that can be generalized for many different HVAC installations. Attending this committee gave me an insight on how the process for proposing new changes to the methodology works.

Finally, I want to thank the ASHRAE Golden Gate Chapter and members for sponsoring this trip. I highly encourage students to apply for this travel grant because it is a great opportunity to travel to the ASHRAE Winter Conference. You get to meet people for all over the world, learn from them, and share your ideas with them too.

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