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FlexLab Tests Building Systems Integration

Leon Walker

FLEXLABAmong the many uses of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division forthcoming FlexLab will be its capability to test successfully integrating HVAC, facades, shading, lighting systems and controls in a way that’s cost effective, and generates aggressive energy savings, according to a question and answer session with the facility’s manager Cindy Regnier.

Successfully integrating such technologies is a problem that is occupying many minds in the efficiency sector currently, according to Regnier. FlexLab will provide unique capabilities for testing in this area. The interior spaces are reconfigurable, so the user can create multiple zonal conditions, such as core and perimeter, for testing whole-building or zone energy savings, the article says.

Reconfigurable lighting systems will allow users to test different lighting technologies and controls, and assess their impact on thermal loads and HVAC energy use, as well measure energy use and impact on visual comfort of the lighting itself. Through reconfigurable glazing and shading systems, the user will be able to measure the impact of different glazing technologies on convection, thermal loads, energy use and comfort.

The facilities HVAC systems are similarly reconfigurable – the lab will be able to provide can provide full airside or hydronic side heating and cooling. It will also be able to mimic any HVAC system from a 1970s vintage to the present day. The ability to mockup older systems and facades will allow the lab to study cost effective energy saving retrofit strategies.

The Facility for Low Energy eXperiments in Buildings, or FlexLab, is designed to be a national focal point for developing, simulating and testing energy-efficient technologies and strategies for buildings. FlexLab users will conduct research and develop technologies at FlexLab on single components as well as whole-building integrated design and operation aimed at substantially lowering the energy use, and improving the comfort and performance of both new and existing buildings. It is a facility of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory‘s Environmental Energy Technologies Division

Currently At this point, FLEXLAB is on time and on budget, and construction should be complete in early 2014. To read the full Q&A click here.

The facility announced Philips Research North America, Daikin AC, PROSPECT Silicon Valley and the Singapore Building and Construction Authority as its first four industry partners in February.



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