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Engineering grads win a global competition while helping a local organization

By Costa Maragos Posted: July 18, 2016 6:00 a.m.

(l-r) Brent Yeske, Eva Rennie and Brad Lulik completed a thorough energy assessment of a Regina daycare that will make a difference for years to come.
(l-r) Brent Yeske, Eva Rennie and Brad Lulik completed a thorough energy assessment of a Regina daycare that will make a difference for years to come. Photo courtesy of Stacey Lulik

It is a crowning achievement for three recent graduates of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Brad Lulik, Eva Rennie and Brent Yeske have won a global student design competition put on by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The team competed against dozens of top schools from around the world, including UBC, University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario in Canada; MIT Engineering, Texas A&M, City College of New York and Temple University in the U.S. as well as institutions in China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

The U of R’s winning project was a thorough energy assessment of the building that houses Little Souls Daycare, an affiliate of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Regina. The organization provides a variety of services for the needy. This year, the competition asked students to find a community group, see a problem and then find a solution.

“The team was humbled when we received news of our projects’ successes,” says Lulik who is now employed at MacPherson Engineering in Regina. “Souls Harbour provides our community with supports that protect the most vulnerable, and our only hope is that this small contribution will assist them in continuing to provide these critical services.” 

The team worked with people at Souls Harbour to perform a detailed energy assessment. The resulting energy audit and mechanical system redesign was a thorough 85-page report that impressed the judges at ASHRAE.
 
“Our goal was to offer options that would lead to a safer yet energy efficient system and that included structural upgrades and HVAC improvements,” says Rennie.

The daycare building is dealing with ventilation issues and the concern of course is the health of the buildings’ occupants, particularly the children in the daycare. 

“People at Soul’s Harbour work hard to provide a caring, warm and safe environment for each child to play and learn,” says Yeske, who has found employment with TransGas in Regina. “We worked on a plan to ensure a regulatory compliant mechanical system was proposed. However, we also had to keep in mind the limited resources available to the organization.”

The team identified problem areas and designed an energy model for Souls Harbour to consider.
 
“Our organization was very impressed with the finished product,” says Michael Towers, director of operations at Souls Harbour. “The team completed a very thorough energy assessment of our building, allowing us to clearly see where there are major energy inefficiencies through a variety of deficiencies.”

For Towers however, he was as impressed that the team took into consideration the financial limitations of the non-profit organization.

“They put together a strategic plan that takes into account our non-profit status and inability to suddenly produce hundreds of thousands of dollars for building repairs,” he says.

Towers says he will use this “blueprint for success” and implement a plan to upgrade the building that makes financial sense.

For the engineers, this was a satisfying project and speaks highly of the training received at the U of R’s Engineering and Applied Science Faculty.

“The holistic approach to education that is encapsulated within the Applied Science programming has prepared our colleagues for future successes.” says Lulik. “The ability to problem solve, critically think, and effectively communicate are the tangible skills that the faculty has continued to develop in their students. This recognition is a testament to the quality of education being provided by Regina’s Engineering program.”

For its winning submission, The U of R team was awarded a cash prize and an invitation to attend the 2017 ASHRAE Winter Meeting in Las Vegas to be presented with their award.
 
The ASHRAE Student Design Competition recognizes outstanding student design projects, encourages undergraduate students to become involved in the profession, promotes teamwork and allows students to apply their knowledge of practical design.

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