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Design and Construction of a Renewable and HVAC Technologies Testbed, “Shack”

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

ECCD Applications in Energy and Thermodynamics

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.446.1 - 26.446.11



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Paper Authors


Patrick A. Tebbe Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Dr. Patrick Tebbe is a professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Dr. Tebbe received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering as well as the M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Missouri–Columbia. He is currently a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), student branch advisor for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Nuclear Society (ANS), and a student branch advisor for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

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Aviv Chetrit Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Senior Mechanical Engineering student at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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Luke Aleckson

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Design and Construction of a Renewable and HVAC Technologies Testbed “Shack”In 2012 the university received an ASHRAE Senior Project Grant to design and build a testbedstructure (i.e. “shack”) for studying topics related to renewable energy and/or HVACtechnologies. The shack design was loosely based on typical ice fishing huts. This servedseveral purposes. First, the inclusion of “ice fishing” creates an immediate engagement for bothstudents and the public. It is hoped that this will generate interest in energy efficient andsustainable design topics beyond the upper level engineering courses. Second, the ice fishingshack style of design implies it is portable. As a portable structure it can be moved to differenttest sites, high schools, open houses, and possibly trade shows or State Fair exhibitions.The shack design incorporates a number of interesting technologies. Its structure includes aunique aluminum frame with aerogel insulation. The roof is partially covered with photovoltaiccells and one wall includes a solar thermal air heater. The collector for this was constructed fromrecycled aluminum cans. Thermocouples placed on and within different surfaces allow data ontemperatures and heat transfer rates to be determined. This paper will describe the basictechnical details, the design, and construction of the shack.The design and construction of the shack has taken longer than originally intended. Currently athird iteration of student researchers is working to complete the shack. The difficulties studentsencountered will be discussed in relation to their experience and design approach. Studentimpacts and direct feedback from the students will included to reinforce this discussion.

Tebbe, P. A., & Chetrit, A., & Aleckson, L. (2015, June), Design and Construction of a Renewable and HVAC Technologies Testbed, “Shack” Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23784

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