“The engineering profession is characterized by an environment that can stifle innovation and reward the ‘plain vanilla’ or ‘safe’ approach to design,” said Lisa Meline of Meline Engineering, Sacramento, Calif., in her heartfelt announcement of the Kirk T. Mescher Award during the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Annual Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Mescher passed away on Aug. 19 at the age of 59.

Mescher was an engineer who specialized in HVAC, but whose real forte was innovation, Meline said. “Kirk’s design ideas are clever in and of themselves, but the courage to implement them in projects and freely share the results underscores his exemplary service to our industry.”

Mescher started GSHP design in 1993 — prior to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) publishing design criteria for geothermal heat pumps (GHPs). He designed and constructed his own test rig for ground thermal properties testing.  He developed the one pipe distribution system for GHP systems and extended its application from individual building to campus scale.

In addition, Mescher pioneered ground loop designs that eliminated the use of costly valve vaults and associated manifolds along with outside air handling designs that permitted the use of standard heat pumps for this duty. His GHP designs consistently achieved U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scores in the 90th percentile. Active in ASHRAE, at all levels he achieved fellow status, distinguished service, exceptional service, served as chair of the Society Program Committee, Conferences Committee, TC 5.5 (Air-to-Air Heat Recovery) was a member of TC 6.8, and served as an ASHRAE distinguished lecturer.

Potential applicants for the award include:

  • Practicing engineers interested in attending a GHP course from ASHRAE or other provider, or for purchase of design software, books, tools, etc.
  • Teaching faculty interested in developing course material on GSHP or otherwise providing GHP information to students.  Students interested in a career in HVAC and interested in attending an ASHRAE Conference or course addressing GSHP. 
  • Practicing engineers, teaching faculty, or students who have an idea for an elegant way to achieve more energy efficiency, and could use this award to test and put the idea(s) into practice.

Contributions to the fund supporting this award can be made through an account established at the following: Kirk Mescher Scholarship Fund, Central Bank of Boone County, P.O. Box 678, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone: (573) 874- 8100, or (800) 842-2262. Or contact Lisa Meline via email, lisa@meline.com.