TexASHRAE Monthly Roundup – March 2023

Howdy y’all! Here’s what we’ve been up to this last month:

TexASHRAE General Meeting – Shah Smith and Associates

Our presenters for this month were Wesley Smith, P.E. and Rachel Schutte, P.E. of Shah Smith and Associates’ Austin Office, an MEP firm specializing in projects for education, healthcare, and other mission-critical projects. They presented the design process for designing a laboratory space and went into detail about the challenges that come with it, such as unknown heating loads from specialized equipment. We would like to thank Wesley and Rachel for a great presentation, and for answering questions our attendees had during and after the presentation!

Speaking of attendees, we would also like to mention that we had a great turnout at this meeting (in fact, it’s our highest turnout this year!), and would like to thank everyone that came out to attend this meeting. We hope to see y’all again in the future!

TexASHRAE Monthly Roundup – February 2023

Howdy y’all! Here’s what we were up to over the last month:

Spring Student Organization Fair – February 8th

To start off the month, TexASHRAE attended the spring organization fair. On top of providing information about the club to students. we also utilized a heat pump to demonstrate its cooling capacity by freezing popsicles!

February Meeting – 3D Printing – ICON and The Future of Home Building

Our presenter of the month was Bungane Mehlomakulu, PE of ICON, a firm specializing in 3D printing construction and technology. He presented past, current, and future projects (including a project on Mars!), and went into detail about the materials used for printing, the testing needed for a house to print properly, and how building systems are implemented. We thank Bungane for an amazing presentation, and for answering questions after the presentation!

Girl Day at UT Austin w/ ASHRAE Austin

TexASHRAE joined the Austin chapter of ASHRAE to volunteer at UT Girl Day, a day dedicated to providing hands-on STEM activities to elementary and middle schoolers. For this activity, we provided a lesson about thermodynamics and heat transfer by challenging kids to prevent their piece of popsicle from melting against a heat lamp by covering it with one of a variety of materials. It was a blast for everyone involved

April Events!

Check out our two events left for April:
Bowling with Austin ASHRAE YEA – Thursday, 4/11 6:30-7:30pm, Union Underground (RSVP here)
Come bowl with your fellow students and the Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA)! You get free bowling, free food, and a chance to network with engineers who are looking to hire!
Cookies & Coffee Chat w/ Dr. Dru Crawley – Thursday, 4/18 2:00-3:00pm, ECJ 3.122 (RSVP here)
Dru Crawley “Father of EnergyPlus” (PH.D., FASHRAE, BEMP, FIBPSA, AIA, AFFIL. CIBSE) is Bentley Fellow and Director, Building Performance Research at Bentley Systems — focusing on building performance, BIM, net-zero-energy buildings, sustainability, resilience, and smart cities. Dr. Crawley developed and managed EnergyPlus and the USDOE’s Commercial Buildings Initiative (now Better Buildings Initiative and Alliances) promoting design and construction of net-zero-energy buildings. Dr. Crawley is active in ASHRAE technical and standards committees, IBPSA (Vice President, IBPSA at-large board member since 1998), IBPSA-USA (President, board member since 2013), USGBC, AIA, CIBSE, and serves on the editorial boards of three international Journals. He has written more than 125 papers and articles, testified before the U.S. Congress, lectured at more than 30 universities, and made more than 400 presentations on building energy efficiency, sustainability, and renewable energy throughout the world.

Explore UT event!

This past weekend, our student chapter along with Eric Nordstrom, one of our Student
Activities Co-Chairs, worked a booth at Explore UT. We were explaining the concept of pressure drop by having students blow bubbles in a cup of water through progressively longer straws. The students we interacted with ranged in age from as little as five years old to seniors in high school. It was interesting to see the different ages respond to the experiment. While most of the younger students were just content blowing bubbles, some of them really got into the activity and were surprisingly knowledgeable about topics of pressure and related subjects like friction and leakage. The older students were able to talk to us a little bit more in-depth about the concepts and, despite the simplicity, seemed to enjoy the activity. We were kept relatively busy throughout the event and had some good attendance at our table. There were also a few groups that had actively sought out our table/activity and it was great to hear they were interested in what we did and had to say!

I (Hagen Fritz) was proud to represent the student branch of ASHRAE at Explore UT and help get students thinking about the topic of HVAC, MEP engineering, and related fields. I want to give a shout out to the other volunteers: Sangeetha Kumar, Viv Martinez, and Dana Whitten. They were extremely informative and tailored their explanations well to the different age groups that were present. We could not have done this without our great student activities chairs and volunteers so I thank you and here’s to another successful event!

texASHRAE in UT Girl day!

Swarms of young girls and boys flooded the UT’s lecture halls on the morning of Saturday, February 23rd. Each accompanied by parents and chaperones as they explored different scientific activities, inspiring the children with the wonders of science. This year, UT ASHRAE took part in Girl Day, an annual campus-wide tradition seeking to introduce elementary aged girls to STEM careers. Dozens of interactive exhibits are lead by UT engineering students to ignite the wonder of math, physics, chemistry and engineering to girls. UT ASHRAE hosted a panel on “bunny copters,” a paper mechanism featuring artificial rotor blades which cause the ‘bunnies’ to spin while free falling. The girls were encouraged to cut, fold and optimize their design so that their bunny copter would spin the most and fly the highest when dropped over a fan. It was a wonderful experience working with the kids and watching their puzzled expressions turn into gasps of wonder when their bunny copters flew to the ceiling. The entire premise of Girl Day was to inspire and empower girls so that they could picture themselves living out a career in STEM. Judging by their reactions, I (Megan Canik) think we nailed it! We are looking forward to hosting many more panels for Girl Day in the future.