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Engineers will get a bird’s eye view of the energy use of building envelopes under a project funded through an ASHRAE Undergraduate Senior Project Grant.
This year, 24 schools from around the world were awarded grants. The grants, totaling some $110,000, are awarded by ASHRAE to colleges and universities worldwide to promote the study and teaching of HVAC/R, encouraging senior undergraduate students to pursue related careers.
The grants are used to design and construct projects, such as The University of Alabama’s proposal to use an unmanned aerial vehicle to document building energy audits. The project notes that while building audits are a key process for determining building efficiency, performance and faults, audits require knowledge of the internal building and energy system and the external building envelope, which can present a challenge.
“The vehicle would be used to quantify envelope characteristics of hard-to-reach and large regions on modern buildings,” said Zheng O’Neill, Ph.D., of the Mechanical Engineering Department and advisor of the project. “The information will provide engineers with systematically measured control volume characteristics. For example, infrared thermal camera data will provide information of building envelope temperature, which can be used for building infiltration diagnostics.”
She will work with Charles O’Neill of the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department for the vehicle development and flight tests.
The goal of the project is to build a co-robot (human controlled with robotic assistance) quadcopter with onboard sensors including infrared temperature camera, visible light camera, heat flux sensors, direct temperature probes and location and orientation.
Other ASHRAE grant recipients are:
For more information on the grant program, visit www.ashrae.org/grants. ASHRAE will begin accepting applications for the 2016-17 program in August 2016, with a December 2016 final deadline.