Konzo inducted into ASHRAE Hall of Fame
The late MechSE Professor Emeritus and alumnus Seichi “Bud” Konzo (MSME ’29) was inducted as a 2018 honoree in the ASHRAE Hall of Fame for his life-long service to and research in the field.
The award honors deceased members who have made milestone contributions to the growth of ASHRAE-related technology.
Konzo is responsible for the first definitive research on forced warm air heating, residential air conditioning, and the pressure loss of air flowing through sheet metal duct fittings.
Konzo was born in Tacoma, Washington, on August 2, 1905 and passed away in 1992 at the age of 87. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington in 1927 and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1929, the year he joined its faculty.
From 1960 to 1962, Konzo was acting Department Head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and he retired in 1971 as Professor Emeritus.
After arriving at Illinois, he was a Research Assistant under the direction of A.C. Willard and A.P. Kratz.
During his 20 years with the University of Illinois, he was a principal investigator in the university's Residential Heating and Cooling Project. His warm air heating research spanned the period from steam radiators and coal furnaces through natural gas heating. Most of his research supported the longstanding collaboration between the EES and the National Warm Air Heating and Ventilating Association (NWAHVA), which later became the National Warm Air Heating and Air Conditioning Association (NWAHACA).
Konzo was one of the first researchers to investigate residential air conditioning, and he did so in an unusual, hands-on way. In 1924, the University of Illinois, in cooperation with the heating and ventilating industry, built a nine-room research residence so that investigations into home heating would be conducted under realistic conditions. In 1933, Konzo and his family, along with two research assistants, moved into the research residence to undertake an extensive investigation of air conditioning systems. For two years, they lived in this unique residential laboratory, collecting data and analyzing the performance of home cooling systems under a variety of conditions.
A firm believer in the benefits of industry involvement in university research, Konzo extended his investigations of air conditioning in 1952 to include airplanes in association with Boeing. His innovative and practical experiments in the area of cooling led to the 1958 Industrial Press Publications Winter Air Conditioning and Summer Air Conditioning. Throughout his career, he authored or co-authored more than 100 research bulletins and papers. Just before his death in 1992, he published his definitive history of the heating and cooling industry, “The Quiet Indoor Revolution.”
Konzo received a number of awards in recognition of his service and achievements in the field. In 1963, he received the ASHRAE Distinguished Service Award. In 1967, he became an ASHRAE Life Member, was designated an ASHRAE Fellow, and received the E.K. Campbell Award of Merit from ASHRAE. In 1971, he was named one of MechSE’s Distinguished Alumni. In 1973, he was awarded the F. Paul Anderson Medal by ASHRAE. And in 1975, he received the Alumni Honor Award from the University of Illinois College of Engineering.
With his induction into the Hall of Fame, Konzo joins another definitive leader in the field, MechSE Professor Emeritus Wilbert F. Stoecker (MSME ’51), who was inducted in 2013.
Information credits: ASHRAE website; and “The Quiet Indoor Revolution,” by Seichi Konzo and Marylee MacDonald.