Second Place - High School

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

  • Goal 13: Climate Action

2019 Youth Design Challenge

This design concept was developed by participants in the Institute’s Youth Design Challenge. The descriptions below are from the team’s competition entry materials.

School: The Harley School
Location: Rochester, NY, United States
Coach: Betsy Vinton, Kima Enerson
Team members: Jacob LaDue, Thomas Neumaier, Gunnar Hammonds, Sam Reeder

Video Pitch

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Innovation Details

This design solution passively circulates fresh air throughout a structure. The design utilizes Bernoulli’s principle, that an increase in the speed of a fluid leads to a decrease in pressure. A low pressure system is created over the exhaust chimney and a high pressure system is created near the intake chute on the leeward side of the model. The air then moves from the intake vent to the exhaust chimney as fluids move from high to low pressure. This pressure differential makes it beneficial in large structures where a single input and output could provide flow to an entire high-rise.

Energy use for space cooling has more than tripled since 1990. In the coming decades, this is only expected to increase as many rapidly developing economies such as Nigeria and India are in regions with warm climates. This effect will be compounded as temperatures increase due to climate change. Not only are emissions from power plants a concern, but many AC units contain hydrofluorocarbons, which are greenhouse gases 1,430 times stronger than CO2. While these hydrofluorocarbons have been phased out in most developed countries, they’re common in developing countries where most growth in air conditioning is found.

This design was inspired by the burrows of prairies dogs found in the American Midwest. They construct their burrows with two entrances, one higher than the other, thus exposing it to greater wind speeds as there is more turbulence closer to the ground. The entrances are constructed with concave slopes that direct the air either up over the hole or down into the hole. This construction leads to a pressure differential that helps to ventilate the boroughs with fresh, oxygenated air allowing the prairie dogs to safely remain in the burrows without being exposed to direct wind gusts.