Apr 29th 2018

Illinois Tech Team Places Second in DOE Race to Zero Student Design Competition

An interdisciplinary team of Illinois Tech students from the Armour College of Engineering and the College of Architecture finished second in the Small Multifamily Housing category at the 2018 Department of Energy (DOE) Race to Zero Student Design Competition held April 20–22 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. This was the third year in a row that an Illinois Tech team led by students and faculty from the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) placed second in their competition category.

This year’s team designed their project, InterTech, to provide off-campus housing for graduate students at Illinois Tech, situated between Illinois Tech’s Mies Campus and the Chicago Loop at 2401 South State Street. The team pursued energy efficient design strategies designed to meet DOE Zero Energy Ready Home requirements while merging with a creative design that promotes a new type of student housing for the area, overcomes site challenges, and meets the Chicago Building Code. Their work resulted in a design that was net-positive energy, meaning that it is predicted to generate more energy through on-site solar PV panels than it would consume on an annual basis. The team achieved this goal through an integrated architectural and engineering design approach that included an energy efficient ground source heat pump with variable refrigerant flow units, outdoor air delivered through dedicated energy recovery ventilators, a naturally ventilated underground garage, an airtight building enclosure with high thermal resistance, and high efficiency equipment, appliances, and fixtures.

The InterTech design team included the following students:

Brett Horin (ARCE 2nd year), team leader, architectural design

Esther Rodriguez (MAE 2nd year), engineering lead, mechanical and PV system design

Jaime Marin (MAE 2nd year), PV system design and energy modeling and analysis

Ajay Kotur (ARCE 1st year), mechanical design

Eric Wright (MAE 2nd year), architectural design

Narjes Abbasabadi (ARCH Ph.D. candidate), architectural design

Vitoon Jittasirinuwat (MAE 2nd year), architectural design

Sergio Arias Solorzano (ME 2nd year), construction engineering and management

The team was advised by Edoarda Corradi Dell’ Acqua, adjunct professor in CAEE, as part of her classes CAE 556 and CAE 557 Net Zero Energy Home Design Competition I and II, with co-advising from Brent Stephens, associate professor of architectural engineering in CAEE. Other Illinois Tech faculty members who provided invaluable guidance included Mohammad Heidarinejad, Laurence Rohter, Raymond Lemming, Eva Kultermann, and Carlo Parente.