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Loughborough students triumph at 2023 Net Zero Energy ASHRAE Design competition

Five postgraduate students from Loughborough’s Net Zero Building Services Engineering (NZBSE) MSc course secured first place at the ASHRAE Setty Family Foundation Net Zero Energy Design competition.

Tom Crook, Alex He, Girishkumar Gudnennavar, Rodrigo Gonzalez Morra, and Mirza Habeebullah Baig, achieved an exceptional milestone by winning the prestigious competition.

The Setty Family Foundation Net Zero Energy Design competition is open to teams of students of mixed disciplines who can work collaboratively on electrical, building and mechanical design. The teams were asked to design an energy-efficient, sustainable project approaching a zero net energy building.

The key features of the Loughborough team’s winning design include high-performance fabric, solar PV, free cooling and heating systems, heat recovery from high-performance chillers, energy electrification, green roofs utilising recycled water, thermal mass and energy-efficient lighting.

The team was mentored by Professor Mahroo Eftekhari, Programme Director of Net Zero Building Services Engineering MSc and Dimitris Tseno, Doctoral Researcher in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering.

Professor Mahroo Eftekhari commented: “This momentous victory marks the third time out of five competitions that Loughborough University and NZBSE MSc students have claimed the top spot in the ASHRAE Net Zero Energy Design competition, showcasing our institution's commitment to excellence and innovation in the field of building services engineering.

“Their success not only brings accolades to the University but also reaffirms our commitment to sustainable building practices and cutting-edge research. We appreciate the input and support from our industrial partners.”

In recognition of their outstanding achievement, each of the five team members will receive a $1,000 award, in addition to the £250 they were previously awarded during the launch of the ASHRAE UK chapter for making it to the finals. Team members are also given free registration to the 2024 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Chicago, USA, including complimentary transportation and accommodation during the conference. The awards ceremony will take place during the ASHRAE Winter Conference, where the team will be honoured by the ASHRAE President.