Design teams considered carbon emissions of the utility grid in 2025 and 2050 to estimate the carbon emissions now and further into the future and the impacts of future climate conditions. Participating teams designed 300,000 sq.ft., 15 story mixed-use building located 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: Aequitas
First place was awarded to team Aequitas for designing a net-zero-energy building that balanced contextual neighborhood cues and functional performance. Aequitas, an integrated architecture and engineering team, approached this mixed-use building with the aim of designing a Net Zero Energy building with a holistic and integrated approach to sustainability and resilience. It aims to minimize embodied carbon, enhance community assets and resources and achieve long-term resiliency in the face of increasing temperatures and extreme storm events. Elizabeth LeRiche, team captain stated that the residents and neighbors can gather in outdoor green spaces and community gardens, fostering bonds through a shared appreciation of food production and our connection to collective impact on the environment.
Second Place (Tie): Carbonbusters
Second-place team, the Carbonbusters, chose an adaptive reuse design strategy restoring a brick power plant that had been abandoned; with a focus on energy efficient construction and locally sourced materials. The site is within walking distance from the subway, Prospect park, and Whole Foods, adjacent to the Gowanus canal, offers opportunities for resiliency, electrical and thermal energy production, and connectivity to the rest of the city.
Second Place (Tie): Parametric Posse Recharged
Also receiving second place, Parametric Posse Recharged team focused on using parametric design tools to strategically enhance the performance of the building type with respect to climate response, energy efficiency, carbon mitigation and occupant well-being. The mid-rise residential tower with ground floor commercial space ubiquitous is in New York City. Throughout the design process, they examined performance enhancement at 3 scales: apartment unit, floor plate, and the whole building.
Fan Favorite: Carbon Lighters
Fan favorite team, the Carbon Lighters, followed a tiered design process on a 41,860 sq.ft., fast food chain drive through building. The site at 57 Empire Boulevard in Brooklyn, adjacent to Prospect Park, is approximately 41,860 sq ft., and is currently underutilized by a fast food chain drive through building. All decisions were based on environmental performance analysis at every step.
Finalist: C.R.E.A.M. (Carbon Rules Everything Around Me)
Throughout this century and beyond, New York City will face unprecedented challenges from the anthropogenic climate crisis, and many of the city’s most underserved communities will be disproportionately burdened by climate impacts. Due to residents’ age and income, as well as the area’s tree coverage and extent of hardscape, Bronx Community District 3 (BX3) is flagged as a high heat vulnerability area.
The ASHRAE LowDown Showdown competition of designing a carbon-neutral building is captivating. The site is supposed to be in New York. The competition focusses on carbon neutrality.
John Bynum, competition chair said, “Each year of the LDSd competition, we ask participating teams to take on a new challenge in building performance analysis. The teams presented outstanding ideas for designing a new building that has a low carbon or carbon neutral footprint, this year’s challenge.” 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.
The competition results were announced during the virtual conference.