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Cal Poly students know how to chill out. No, no. That’s much too cheesy a lead for this column. How about: Cal Poly students are really hot right now? Nah. These guys are really cool?

Forget it.

Cal Poly Engineering recently took first place in the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning System Selection category of the 2011 student design competition held by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.

The team—which included students Lynn Gualtieri, Evan Olda, Kristin Porter, Navid Saiidnia, Jeffrey Wong, and Cameron Young, with faculty adviser Jesse Maddren—competed against more than 20 other entries from around the world.

The system they selected and designed was intended for the Drake Well Museum
in Titusville, Pa.

Cal Poly’s winning entry, according to a release from the school, emphasized “green and sustainable design,” including a solar panel array that would offset approximately 95 percent of the museum’s energy consumption. According to the Cal Poly presentation, the group’s design was guided by American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers standards to exceed LEED minimum requirements and Energy Star score expectations, both of which comprise industry sustainability indexes.

The first-place teams will present their projects at the 2012 Winter Conference in Chicago, set for Jan. 21 to 25.

Oh, and some more engineers won another prize. Cal Poly’s Society of Environmental Engineers took third place in June’s Environmental Challenge International, a competition that required student teams to develop a plan to produce 25 percent of the nation’s energy through a mix of renewable sources by the year 2025.

The competition also tasked the student teams with developing materials that would help a hypothetical client convince Congress to mandate implementation.

The $3,000 third-place prize was based on a poster, presentation, and paper from team members Mariana Brito, Sam Dennis, Tyler Grossheim, Ashley Hart, Will Yee, and Anna Yeutter. Professor Sam Vigil was their advisor.

Contest guidelines stipulated that the teams provide evidence that their energy plans were “economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable.”

“Our renewable energy portfolio stood out, because it was very balanced and diverse,” Brito, president of Cal Poly’s Society of Environmental Engineers chapter, said in a release. “It used several different technologies, so we weren’t relying too heavily on any one resource and could distribute energy production pretty evenly around the country.”

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