MDesS students win low-energy design competition

Two GSD student teams recently won first-place awards in the 2013-14 NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) Net-Zero Energy Design Competition.   The competition called for low-energy, high aesthetic architectural designs supported by energy simulation analysis for a variety of building types in Holyoke, Mass.

Seventeen teams from design programs throughout the Northeast and Canada competed in 4 divisions, and the winning GSD teams perfected their entries over J-term. Kanika Arora (MDesS ’15), Abhinay Sharma (MDesS ’14), Baha Sadreddin (MDesS ’15) and Rohit Goyal (GSAS), advised by assistant professor Holly Samuelson (DDes), won for residential new construction.

The team approached multi-unit housing with a 3-phase environmental design process that enabled them to go beyond the preliminary goal of net-zero energy and achieve a positive energy status. The design minimizes the buildings’ operating energy input through climate-responsive passive strategies. It takes advantage of efficient and economical environmental control systems to ensure occupant comfort and integrates on-site renewables to offset energy input and achieve positive energy.

Johannes Staudt (MDesS ’14), Saurabh Shrestha (MDesS ’14) and Tom Sherman (MDesS ’14) worked with faculty advisor Kiel Moe (assistant professor of architectural technology) on a proposal for commercial renovation. Their challenge was to create high quality day-lit space within the Riverside Paper Mill, providing a new and affordable area for creative industrial and commercial uses that will boost the economy of Holyoke.  Their design activates the thermal mass of the existing brick masonry structure by means of a dynamic polycarbonate exterior skin that will envelope the deteriorated façade and windows.  Ground source heat wells charged during the summer with solar hot water, along with a heat pump and a radiant floor distribution system, will maintain thermal comfort in the building.

Read more about the 2013-14 NESEA Net-Zero Energy Design Competition