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Love that Shack: Little Ol’ ‘Fishing’ Hut Among Projects Reeling in Funding

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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A sacred Minnesota institution—the ice fishing “shack”—serves as the inspiration for an energy-efficient mini-dwelling to be designed in one of 22 university “senior projects” funded by an ASHRAE grant program.



Minnesota State University—Mankato is located in the heart of ice-fishing territory. The university’s “shack” design will be loosely based on typical ice-fishing huts or shacks shown here.

ASHRAE has awarded 22 schools from around the world Undergraduate Senior Project Grants, including Minnesota State University-Mankato’s plan to design a “shack” that demonstrates renewable and HVAC technologies, including solar-thermal heating, photovoltaic power generation, and high-efficiency and green insulation options.

The grants total approximately $100,000 and are used to promote the study and teaching of HVAC&R, encouraging senior undergraduate students to pursue related careers, the association said

For grant winner Minnesota State University-Mankato, the concept for a test-bed “shack” will carry a distinctly regional flavor. You might say there’s something fishy about it.

Angling for an Energy-Efficient Fishing Shack

This is Minnesota, after all, so one of the state’s passionate pursuits—fishing—figures into the Minnesota State University-Mankato “shack” design plans.

“In the spirit of the Solar Decathlon and the movement toward ‘tiny homes,’ this project aims to design and build a structure of some 24 square feet that can be used to demonstrate renewable and HVAC technologies,” said Patrick Tebbe, faculty advisor at Minnesota State University. “The ‘shack’ will be designed to accommodate a range of technologies for demonstration and testing in the classroom and research projects.”

Given the university is located in the heart of ice-fishing territory; the shack design will be loosely based on typical ice fishing huts or shacks, ASHRAE said.

The ice-fishing connection creates an immediate “hook” for both students and the public, Tebbe said. He said the students hope this will generate interest in energy efficiency and sustainable design topics beyond upper-level engineering courses. The shack also will be portable (most likely constructed on a sled) so it could be moved to test sites, high schools, open houses, and other venues, allowing for greater demonstration opportunities.

It also could be adapted for summer applications, Tebbe said.

The project will incorporate a flat-plate solar collector to supplement interior heating, testing of various wood- and pellet-fueled stoves and weather stations from previous solar research. The construction materials likely will be supplemented with recycled and reused materials found locally, ASHRAE said.

The concept of a downsized, highly energy-efficient dwelling as a forward-looking, sustainable housing alternative is also the subject of the D+D stories Little House, Big Energy Savings: A Look at ‘Mini-B’ and ‘Mini-B,’ Pint-Size Passive House, Opens to Big Buzz.

Grand Prize

ASHAE recognized the Purdue University-Calumet (Hammond, Ind.) project, Refrigeration and Heat Pump Teaching System, as the “top grant award winner.” 

Two students from the university are invited to present their project as part of the Student Program at the 2013 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Dallas

The other ASHRAE grant recipients and projects are the following:

• American University of Beirut (Lebanon): Test and Optimize a Zonal Air Distribution System to Inactivate Airborne Microorganisms using Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation

• Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada): Measurement of Indoor Air/Environmental Quality in Arctic Housing and University Campus Buildings

• North Carolina A& T State University (Greensboro, N.C.): Impacts of Air Filters on Energy Consumption in Typical HVAC Systems

• Sinclair Community College (Dayton, Ohio): Primary-Secondary Hot Water and Chilled Water System Design and Installation

• Transylvania University of Brasov: Testing Laboratory Using Renewable Sources for Radiant vs. Convective Heating and Cooling

• Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Colombia, South America): Climate Emulator Using Chilled Water HVAC System as Energy Source

• Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (Johor): Effect of Ejector Geometric Parameter on the Unitary Air Conditioner as an Expansion Device

• University of Alaska-Anchorage: Air Duct Simulator

• University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada): Undergraduate Boiler Performance Laboratory

• University of Urbana-Champaign (Illinois):  Design and Construction of an Energy Recovery Ventilation Demonstration Unit Using Heat Pump for Laboratory Use

• University of Indonesia (Kampus UI Depok): Development of Smoke Venting Demonstration Apparatus

• University of Lagos (Nigeria): Design and Fabrication of a Biogas-Powered Water Refrigeration Heating System

• University of Maryland (College Park): Energy Consumption Analysis and Optimum Cooling Solutions for a Medium Size Data Center

• University of Minnesota (Minneapolis): Desiccant Dehumidification Test Facility

• University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada): Underwater Compressed Air Energy Storage System Model

• Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green): Air Flow Visualization System Using Infrared Thermography

• Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio): Heat Powered Demonstration Chiller

• California State Polytechnic University (Pomona): Moisture Control for Carbon Dioxide Sensor Applied in a Residential Furnace

• Jimei University (Xiamen, China): Design and Construction of an Experimental Facility for Fresh Air Ventilator with Exhaust Air Heat Recovery Systems

• University of Algarve (Faro, Portugal): Development of Sensors for HVAC Systems Control Based in the Human Thermal-Physiology

More information: www.ashrae.org/grants

ASHRAE also announced it will begin accepting applications for the 2013-14 program in August, with a December 2012 deadline for proposals.


Tagged categories: Architects; ASHRAE; Color; Contractors; Design; Education; Energy efficiency; Green design; Sustainability

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