FlexLab Announces Industry Partners

Philips Research North America, Daikin AC, PROSPECT Silicon Valley and the Singapore Building and Construction Authority are the first four partners of the Facility for Low Energy eXperiments in Buildings (FLEXLAB).

FLEXLAB consists of a series of testbeds and supporting labs that facilitate development, demonstration and deployment of innovative, high-performance commercial building technologies and practices with a focus on integrated systems to achieve energy savings.

Two interior testbeds of FLEXLAB within an existing building at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are complete or near completion, and construction has begun on the exterior modules of FLEXLAB. Completion is expected in early 2014.

Berkeley Lab is developing a public-private partnership model that will allow many different organizations to use FLEXLAB capabilities for purposes ranging from technology development, to performance measurement and validation, to integrated systems optimization and demonstration of deployment- ready efficiency solutions.

The new test facilities build upon an extensive existing building RD&D staff and infrastructure at Berkeley Lab, as well as a network of US and international building science collaborators.

Philips Research North America will soon begin testing of integrated lighting and shade controls solutions in FLEXLAB’s lighting and plug loads testbed (pictured). This testbed is a densely instrumented, occupied living laboratory that can be used to test real-life office environments, allowing for a wide variety of lighting control strategies ranging from fully automated control, to manual control by occupants.

Because of its high degree of control, the testbed is ideally suited to testing a variety of new lighting control hardware systems with their different control algorithms and operational sequences in order to assist manufacturers such as Philips Research North America to develop, test and refine advanced control concepts in a well-controlled environment.

Users can monitor every change in the power use and lighting conditions of the testbed continuously and in real-time. Every duplex power outlet is individually monitored and can be turned on or off by occupants, or can be programmed for other controls such as by occupancy. In perimeter offices the operation of the lighting systems will be integrated with dynamic shade controls to optimize daylight use and minimize glare.

Daikin Industries will work with the FLEXLAB staff to leverage expertise in building modeling and simulation, while preparing to use physical facilities to test the performance of innovative new HVAC technologies against model predictions.

PROSPECT Silicon Valley (Providing real-time opportunities to showcase and pilot emerging Clean Technologies in Silicon Valley) helps companies accelerate the commercialization and market adoption of clean technologies by providing a place to connect with private and public investors, and to collaborate with academic and industry partners.

PROSPECT Silicon Valley will help shorten time periods to prove commercial viability and testing, and provide infrastructure for field trials and demonstrations that accelerate commercialization. PROSPECT Silicon Valley will serve as a physical access point to a range of support services for clean technology companies. Participants in PROSPECT Silicon Valley will include clean-tech companies, entrepreneurs and innovators, academic institutions and R&D labs, as well as training organizations.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore inked a broad partnership with Berkeley Lab to collaborate on buildings R&D and to build a facility for testing green building technologies. The overall collaboration will focus on developing new innovations for greater energy efficiency of buildings in Singapore, reducing carbon emissions and contributing to the sustainability of the built environment.

The new facility to be built at the BCA Academy will be based upon the one-story, two-cell rotating unit of Berkeley Lab’s FLEXLAB. While there will be differences in terms of size and scope due to space constraints, the new facility at BCA Academy will be the first rotating building research facility in Asia.

The design will allow the daylighting and solar impact on all building envelope surfaces to be assessed, thus simulating the actual building site location with ease. In building the new lab, BCA will work closely with Berkeley Lab to tap its expertise in areas including design and construction, data acquisition and collaborative research projects.


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