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ASHRAE Recognizes 2020 Modeling Challenge Teams

This October, ASHRAE announced the wines of its first virtual 2020 LowDown Showdown modeling competition. The LowDown Showdown engages architects, engineers, designers and energy modelers by working on integrated teams in the creation of outstanding designs that solve in real-world building efficiency challenges.

“Each year of the LDSd competition, we ask participating teams to take on a new challenge in building performance analysis, said John Bynum, competition chair. “The teams presented outstanding ideas for designing a new building that has a low carbon or carbon neutral footprint, this year’s challenge.”

This year’s competition took a page from New York City’s groundbreaking new Climate Mobilization Act that requires building owners to reduce their carbon footprint. Participating teams designed a 300,000 sq ft, 15-story mixed-use building located anywhere in the five boroughs of New York City. The building contained retail space, residential space and a full-service restaurant.

Teams were evaluated in six categories:

  •     Carbon Neutral Approach/Energy Use
  •     Creativity
  •     Innovative Approaches
  •     Sustainability/Durability
  •     Indoor Environmental Quality
  •     Workflow and Teamwork

First place was awarded to team “Aequitas” for designing a net-zero-energy building that balanced contextual neighborhood cues and functional performance. The building’s primary façade captured the design of nearby warehouses.

Functional elements that augment the building’s performance and comfort included narrow floorplates for ample daylight and ventilation, a dichotomous façade on the northwest that acts as a sound barrier to adjacent vehicle and train noise, and a diaphanous open façade on the southeast, aimed at maximizing daylight and solar energy captured through a PV integrated window system. Resiliency measures were incorporated, HVAC systems minimized use of fossil fuels and mass timber was utilized as  the primary structural system, which at 15 stories made this building one of the tallest mass timber structures in North America.

To read the full list of winners, visit

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