ASHRAE funds efficiency projects including aerial vehicle for energy audits

Undergraduates at 24 universities awarded grants.

March 18, 2016 |
ASHRAE funds efficiency projects including aerial vehicle for energy audits

Photo: P199/Wikimedia Commons.

A grant program funded by ASHRAE will go to promote the study and teaching of HVAC&R, and to encourage senior undergraduate students to pursue related careers. 

The ASHRAE Undergraduate Senior Project Grant initiative awarded funds to 24 schools around the world. The grants totaled $110,000. Undergraduate students at the University of Alabama will use their award to develop an aerial vehicle to conduct building energy audits.

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.

“The vehicle would be used to quantify envelope characteristics of hard-to-reach and large regions on modern buildings,” Zheng O’Neill, Ph.D., of the Mechanical Engineering Department and advisor of the project, said. “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.”

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