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Illinois Tech students win DOE net zero competition for ‘The Nook’

Illinois Tech students win DOE net zero competition for ‘The Nook’

CHICAGO, ILL. – Illinois Institute of Technology architecture and engineering students have won the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in the retail building division.

The competition challenges students to design high-performance low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy.

The winning Illinois Tech team designed The Nook, an 82,000-square-foot mixed use retail space located for a real vacant lot at the crossroads of Goose Island and Old Town in Chicago which produces as much energy as it consumes. They analyzed the cost, energy performance, environmental impact and durability of the building while also meeting the retail needs of the surrounding neighbourhood.

The team employed building daylighting, natural ventilation, HVAC control automation, a green roof and a roof-mounted photovoltaic system amongst other measures.

The building is designed for year-round operation with a rainwater collection system feeding the green roof, sensors to adjust lighting and conserve energy, and a solar array that feeds excess energy into rechargeable batteries.

The building also features a sawtooth roof design allowing for daylighting, ventilation and rainwater collection and at surface level the facility has a reflecting pool.

“The north side of The Nook has a large reflection pool, giving children and parents a fun place to relax as well as cool off from the hot Chicago summer sun, easily drained in winter or if, for example, a farmers market wanted to occupy the space during summer,” PhD student in the College of Architecture at Illinois Tech Tian Li said in a statement.

Students collaborated with faculty members from both the Armour College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, including faculty adviser Edoarda Corradi Dell’Acqua, Brent Stephens, Mohammad Heidarinejad, Laurence Rohter, Raymond Lemming, and Sachin Anand and received technical guidance from Brett Horin.

The team also worked with industry partners including ASHRAE Illinois Chapter, Chicago Public Schools, dbHMS, Larson & Darby Group, SCB, Baumann Consulting, Cushing Terrell, Elevate Energy, Passive House Institute US, and zpd+a Architects.

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