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K-State Today

May 6, 2013

National champs: Architectural engineering team wins electrical category in Pankow competition

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University's Architectural Engineering Institute, or AEI, Competition Team is a national champion. The team won the electrical category at the recent fourth annual Charles Pankow Foundation Student Design Competition at State College, Pa.

The competition allows students from the 21 accredited architectural engineering programs across the globe to compete against in a way that highlights what it means to be an architectural engineer, and that challenges the students to apply what they have they learned in their respective curricula to a real-world design problem. The five categories teams compete in are building systems integration, structural, mechanical, electrical and construction management.

The Kansas State University students applied in fall 2012 to be a part of the competition team and were selected based on experience and qualifications by a group of faculty advisers. They set their own approach for the competition, meeting at least once a week for two semesters up to the competition.

Nineteen teams from 11 universities participated in the competition. Student teams had to provide a design development submittal for a new elementary school building. They were required to address a multitude of challenges, including energy conservation, environment, safety, durability, accessibility, cost benefit, productivity, functionality and operational considerations.

"I would suggest our electrical submission was selected as the national champion because our team took an innovative and novel idea, and truly went for it in terms of design and application," said Russ Murdock, assistant professor of architectural engineering and construction science and lead faculty adviser.

For the electrical design, the Kansas State University team featured the use of microturbines that operate on natural gas input, outputting both usable electricity and excess heat that can be captured and used to fill both the heating and cooling needs of the building. The result is a dramatic reduction in expected utility costs. The team then utilized DC, or direct current, output from three of their microturbines to power much of the mechanical equipment and lighting infrastructure in the building, eliminating a host of direct current/alternate current and alternate current/direct current conversion losses -- again increasing the efficiency of their design.

Along with Murdock, faculty advisers from department of architectural engineering and construction science assisting the team included: Fred Hasler, associate professor; Chris Ahern, assistant professor; Bill Zhang, assistant professor; Don Phillippi, assistant professor; and Eric Bartholomew, assistant professor.

Students on the Kansas State University team, all seniors in architectural engineering unless otherwise indicated, include:

Corey Midkiff, Fort Scott; Bronson Blasi, Pratt; Ryan Wofford, Salina; Joe Yates, Shawnee; and Javy Porras, Ulysses.

From out of state: Dustin Nyberg, Independence, Mo.; Brian Schrotenboer, senior in construction science and management, Wildwood, Mo.; Richard Kim, Fort Bragg, N.C.: and Sean Hood, Edmund, Okla.